By Steve Elliott
Alison Holcomb trusts poop more than people. The author of Washington state's recreational marijuana law has suggested that the city of Spokane test its sewage for traces of cannabis in order to more accurately measure use by residents.
Holcomb, a lawyer with the ACLU, proposed the idea at a Tuesday meeting of the Spokane City Council's marijuana policy subcommittee, reports the Associated Press.
About 50 city leaders and residents make up the subcomittee, which attempts to deal with what cannabis legalization means for Spokane, a city of about 210,000, reports Jessica Glenza at The Guardian.
"We don't have really good data on usage and perceptions of harm," said city councilman Jon Snyder. "It's funny how the sewage thing has really captured people's imagination."
A University of Washington scientist liked the idea. "It's always good for a chuckle, but it actually does work," said Caleb Banta-Green, a researcher at the UW's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.
Banta-Green, an epidemiologist, has tested sewage in Oregon and Washington for the presence of hard drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine. "In some ways, I think my most surprising finding is that it works," he said.