With Washington state about to embark on a first-of-its-kind legal market for recreational marijuana, the budding ranks of new cannabis growers face a quandary over what to do with the excess stems, roots and leaves from their plants.
Susannah Gross, who owns a five-acre farm north of Seattle, is part of a group experimenting with a solution that seems to make the most of marijuana’s appetite-enhancing properties – turning weed waste into pig food.
Four pigs whose feed was supplemented with potent plant leavings during the last four months of their lives ended up 20 to 30 pounds heavier than the half-dozen other pigs from the same litter when they were all sent to slaughter in March.
“They were eating more, as you can imagine,” Gross said.
Giving farm animals the munchies is the latest outcome of a ballot measure passed by Washington voters in November making their state one of the first to legalize the recreational use of pot. The other was Colorado. Both were among about 20 states with medical marijuana laws already on their books.
The federal government still classifies cannabis as an illegal narcotic, and the Obama administration has not yet said what actions, if any, it will take in answer to the newly passed recreational weed statutes.
You were expecting, maybe, leadership?
Matt McAlman, the medical marijuana grower who provided the pot leavings for Gross’ pigs, says he hopes the idea expands with the likely impending expansion of Washington state’s marijuana industry.
Draft regulations issued last week to govern the burgeoning recreational-use industry seem to leave open that possibility. The rules dictate that marijuana plant waste must be “rendered unusable prior to leaving a licensed producer or processor’s facility,” adding that mixing it with food waste would be acceptable.
Sounds good to me. Might even enjoy some baby back ribs with a dash of THC flavoring brought to a bouquet by delicate smoking.