Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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June 27, 2013

Washington farmer feeds pot to pigs

(Continued)

The idea has brought worldwide attention. On a recent afternoon, Gross hosted a crew from a German science show while von Schneidau has already been interviewed dozens of times.

The men, though, are relishing the spotlight to advertise von Schneidau's idea of locally sourced food. Gross' hogs at his Snohomish, Wash., farm were being fed recycled byproduct before the marijuana idea.

While Gross raises pig on his property, he works full time as a construction foreman. The only way he can stay in the pig business, he said, is the free feed he collects from a local distillery and brewery. He feeds his pigs barrels of the distillery wheat "mash" every day, fortified by a nutrient mix his veterinarian created. Gross gets his free pig feed, while the distillery and brewery get rid of waste.

Gross is applying that model to the medical marijuana excess and von Schneidau hopes it's an example people use as production of marijuana ramps up under the state-approved system.

"Absolutely, it's a good opportunity to help people get rid of their waste," said von Schneidau, who is also attempting to start a privately-owned mobile slaughterhouse.

But currently the state draft rules say pot plant waste must be "rendered unusable" by either grinding it or mixing it with non-consumable, recycled solid waste, such as food waste, compost, soil and paper waste. The state's rules for medical marijuana do not say how to get rid of marijuana byproducts.

John P. McNamara, a professor at Washington State University's Department of Animal Sciences, doesn't find the experiment amusing.

"Of all the crazy things I've seen in my 37-plus years, this is the dumbest things I've ever seen in my life," he said.

McNamara said in order to introduce a drug or medicine to feed that's being given to animals that make part of the food supply, the federal government must sign off on it after extensive review. He adds that research has shown that cannabis ingested can be transferred onto tissues.

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