Marijuana Legalization: Washington Farmers Feed Pigs Leftover Marijuana, Get Great Results

Thought bacon couldn’t get any better? What if it were pot infused?

With Washington State about to kick off it’s unprecedented market for recreational marijuana, weed farmers were having trouble figuring out what to do with the excess roots, leaves and stems. One group of folks had an interesting idea: Feed it to pigs!

One farmer, Susannah Gross, owns a five-acre farm just north of Seattle and is part of the group experimenting with turning cannabis waste into pig food (weed feed, maybe?). Four of her pigs whose food was supplemented with the stuff ended up 20 to 30 points heavier than the other pigs in the same litter. 

"They were eating more, as you can imagine," Gross told Reuters.

It looks like giving pigs the munchies is a pretty solid business plan.

And the meat is selling, too. William Von Schneidau, a butcher at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market said his sales were so high (heh, heh) that he ran out of meat. The “smoked” bacon was especially popular.

In March, Von Schneidau held a “Pot Pig Gig” in which he served the weed-fed pork as part of a five-course meal, and reported that some customers reported that meat tasted “more savory.”

The meat – which gives a whole new meaning to “pot bellied pig” (I’m cracking myself up, guys) – is all part of creative new industries that are popping up around the increasingly legal sale of marijuana. While Washington State will be the first to allow the recreational use of marijuana, 20 states have legalized it for medical use.

Two guys in Colorado launched a pot tourism company after the state legalized medical marijuana earlier this year. The company will likely drastically expand as Colorado moves closer towards full legalization. Investment networks for marijuana start ups have also started to form in Colorado, and a company called “MedBox” has created armored vending machines for medical marijuana that sells pot brownies.

I’m sure we can expect many more creative business models to pop up as marijuana becomes more commonplace, and the market creates solutions for unexpected glitches, like leftover greenery. For now, though, you’ll have to go to Washington for that pot-infused bacon. 

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Jessica Huseman

Jessica wrote for Mic.com until Feb. 2014. Now she's an investigative reporter at The Teacher Project, writing articles on K12 education for Slate.com. Her work has appeared in ProPublica, The Atlantic, Slate, The Dallas Morning News and Chalkbeat and more. Find her contact info and her recent work at www.jessicalhuseman.com.

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