"Farmer John" Muller didn't vote for the California law that legalized recreational marijuana. But now he hopes it will help him weather an economic downturn.
Muller is best known for growing some of Half Moon Bay's biggest pumpkins, in addition to arugula, lettuce, onions and other crops, CBS San Francisco reports. But his large family farm has fallen into some disrepair. The greenhouses his father built in the 1960s are showing signs of wear and tear, and the family's cash flow isn't what it once was.
That, combined with the health care costs of his aging in-laws, who live on the farm, has Muller considering adding cannabis to the mix. "I think if we could derive some income from the cannabis, that would be enough to offset [his in-laws'] expenses," Muller told KPIX 5.
Muller would partner with investors who would rebuild the greenhouses and grow young cannabis plants, then sell them to other farmers. Local resident Eric Hollister is trying to line up $6 million in funding for the endeavor, The Mercury News reported.
But Muller needs more than money: He needs the city to sign off on a new law to allow farmers to grow cannabis seedlings. A public hearing about the ordinance is scheduled for June 5. The issue has sparked fierce debate, with some of the strongest opposition coming from the local Catholic church.
Muller's farm would be one of four in the town eligible to grow cannabis seedlings. For the 72-year-old Republican, Vietnam veteran and former Half Moon Bay mayor, this would also be a change. He admits he didn't even vote for Proposition 64, the measure that made recreational pot legal in California.
"I don't want to make more people smoke pot," Muller said, "but I don't have any control over that."