MULDROW, Okla — Last year, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law that requires medical marijuana facilities to use a licensed waste disposal company to get rid of products that didn't pass testing, returned, or contaminated.
Shawn Cowan is planning to open Greenleaf Recycle of Oklahoma.
A business that will use worms to dispose of medical marijuana waste.
"What we were looking at was trying to give back more to the community than just taking away. Most waste facilities are going to take it, grind it, mix it at a ratio like 49/51 and then haul it to a landfill," Cowan said.
Greenleaf wants to create a product that can be reused.
"When they get through eating it, everything will be what's called castings or worm poop, and what we'll do is harvest those castings, bag it up, and sell it to greenhouses, growers, and anybody that grows organically basically," Cowan said.
Cowan and his partners, including Eddie Armer, say their business is waiting on permit approval from the Department of Environmental Quality and a waste disposal license from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority.
Specially designed vats house 1,000 worms per square foot.
The business will be licensed to produce 100 tons of waste per year.
A system has been set up to collect rainwater to keep the worms saturated.
"I'm not sure I'd even heard of worm farming before this, and it definitely is 100 percent green," Armer said.
Cowan says they plan to offer special rates to marijuana growers with a license in Oklahoma.
"What we're going to offer is anybody that's a cardholder when they get through growing their six medicinal marijuana plants then after it's harvested they can bring their plant matter to us, and we'll process it at no charge."
It could be several more weeks before the business is fully operational.
The partners also plan to open a second marijuana waste disposal facility in the Shawnee/Meeker area.