KOMO News reports:
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No one really knows how much marijuana use in Washington State will change. But one local researcher has already launched a study to find out, using a method becoming more common: measuring drugs in sewage, often called wastewater.
“I have just THC metabolite in this test tube,” said a graduate student researcher in a lab at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. They are testing samples collected months ago from undisclosed sewage treatment plants in Washington State to determine the level of marijuana use before it became legal to buy. They’ll take comparative samples again after retail stores are fully up and running. Results will show a trend, not so much an estimate of average use per person.
Testing wastewater is more accurate than other measurements. When it comes to surveys, drug users don’t always tell the truth, experts conclude.
“And so the wastewater should be a more objective way of looking at consumption,” said Dan Burgard, the UPS researcher heading up the study of changing marijuana usage. He agrees pot smokers can lie to people conducting surveys. But it’s “pretty tough” to lie to the toilet.
But what the KOMO report ISN’T telling you is that Burgard is getting $120,000 from the National Institutes Of Health to conduct this study, as per the AP version of this report. The NIH is a division of the Department Of Health & Human Services, and has a $30 Billion annual budget.