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Half Moon Bay Aims For Open Approach To Recreational Cannabis

HALF MOON BAY (KPIX 5) -- As many Bay Area cities are trying to figure out where they stand on the sale of legal recreational pot, Half Moon Bay officials are discussing ground rules for locals to grow marijuana.

Proposition 64, California's recreational marijuana measure, passed in November. But as time ticks down to its January 1st start date, more and more municipalities are passing local laws against selling recreational pot. Half Moon Bay is taking an open approach.

pot cultivation
pot cultivation (CBS)

"We are taking a different approach than a lot of other cities. And I think that is because of the history that we have here, said Matthew Chidester, Half Moon Bays Deputy City Manager. "We feel like it's in the community's best interest to at least explore this and see where it goes."

Wednesday night, for the first time, the city is holding a community meeting to specifically address cannabis cultivation and sales. Nothing is set in stone, but officials are looking to allow greenhouse cultivation and possibly on-site retail for what's grown there.

The city says most feedback so far has been positive, but it wants more input from residents.

"I feel like Half Moon Bay is one of those really laid back places that is pretty open minded to something like that, so I would expect a more positive response," said local Shannon Mann.

The move towards cultivation is steeped in the agricultural tradition of the coastline. The fact the areas weather is ideal for hot house growing could provide a much needed supplemental income for the flower industry that's struggled in recent years.

"After NAFTA was put in, its been very difficult for flower growers," said Charise Hale McHugh, CEO of the Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber Of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. "You could sell a rose from Colombia cheaper than you could grow one here, so our rose growers have had to change what they grow and how they grow it."

Which is where cannabis cultivation could come into play if officials pass less restrictive rules regarding growing and sales. The meeting is scheduled to begin Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Half Moon Bay Community Center.

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