Originally published on August 24, 2015 5:22 am
While Illinois deals with invasive Asian Carp in its waterways, medical marijuana plants are ripening for sale across the state.
The two issues might share a surprising economic link:
Medical cannabis is set for sale this fall. That’s caught the attention of some of the state’s fishing industry. A fish processing company in northwestern Illinois sees the budding medical pot business as a new market for a product they sell, made of Asian Carp from the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. Brandon Wyatt is with Schafer Fisheries. He says the company plans to sell carp-based fertilizer to medical marijuana cultivation centers:
“Our fertilizer side has a ton of growth potential more than the food industry itself. I would say to the figure of probably five to six times the amount of money to be made in that industry."
Last week government and business owners gathered in Peoria to discuss new ways to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes, while helping boost demand for food and other carp byproducts.
John Goss is an Asian Carp advisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He says federal agencies spend about $50 million each year to block Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes.