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The urine in the sewage system in Tacoma, Washington, has tested positive for marijuana, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.
A federally funded study aimed to study marijuana use since voters approved recreational use in 2012 and found that consumption doubled in Tacoma from 2013 to 2016 — “a conclusion scientists reached by way of the unglamorous work of analyzing raw sewage,” the wire service reported.
Researchers tested waste at two sewage treatment plants that serve the 200,000 people of Tacoma, “a city whose drug-use trends tend to mirror those of Seattle,” the AP reported.
Looking for THC — the euphoria-inducing component of cannabis and often found in urine — the scientists would pick up a cooler full of frozen wastewater samples and examine them, according to the news report.
“It’s stinky,” lead author Dan Burgard, a chemist at the University of Puget Sound, told a reporter. “But we’ve worked with urine, we’ve worked with wastewater, and we’ve worked with port-a-potties. It’s not as bad a port-a-potties.”
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