The July 10 opinion piece headlined, “Do you want a pot farm in your neighborhood?” illustrates a policy stance that would have a far more pernicious impact on our community than any agricultural enterprise ever could, cannabis or otherwise. Further, the article demonstrates a remarkably naive understanding of politics when citing 56 percent of voters rejected the cultivation of mature cannabis.

Not everyone is flourishing in our local economy. Aside from residential real estate and certain professional and hospitality services, we have businesses pulling up stakes with frequency. Our farmers struggle, yet almost paradoxically, “Help Wanted” signs can be seen everywhere. One only needs to drive by the homes in our community obviously shared by far too many minimum wage employees, day laborers and their families to begin wondering if Half Moon Bay is an affordable community for anyone other than the most privileged. Let’s also be mindful of the local restaurants and hospitality businesses that profit off the backs of these hard-working families. Are these workers being paid legitimately, not to mention receiving a living wage? 

When the state opened up the market for a cannabis industry, were we supposed to ignore the new economic opportunities available to our traditionally agrarian community? Moreover, as the opinion piece suggests, we should act as a group of citizen hall monitors to scrutinize (if not harass) cannabis enterprises because they happen to be adjacent to the county-city line?

Stop the harmful rhetoric. We need to do better for our citizens by preserving our opportunity to take advantage of a developing agricultural sector on our own terms. A 56 percent voter rejection of mature cannabis cannot be used as a blunt instrument to prove, once and for all, Half Moon Bay does not want to participate in a legitimate industry that is positioned for long-term growth. Perhaps many voters would have approved of mature cannabis businesses if presented with a reasoned policy strategy and a set of comprehensive regulations. Let’s not harm our local economy by stifling the discussion about an economic opportunity that could very well provide a higher standard of living for our citizens. I suspect we would all appreciate those “Help Wanted” signs being replaced with technical, trade and professional job postings.

And whatever we do, let’s not check the hall passes of cannabis businesses that happen to be located next door. Nobody likes a tattletale. Instead, let’s invite them to our lunch table for an honest discussion about working together for a better Half Moon Bay.

-Mark Hancock, Half Moon Bay

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