US (WA): Pursuit of marijuana market creates odd couple

Alan Schreiber’s truck bounces along a rutted road past row upon row of crops.

Blueberries, asparagus, apples, cantaloupe, Brussels sprouts, Concord grapes, Merlot grapes, peaches, pears, cherries, onions, pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes, sugar beets, alfalfa. More than 300 varieties of produce, much of it part of experiments on disease, pests and growing techniques.

“Every row here is something different,” the Franklin County farmer said. “There’s fava beans, Chinese cabbage, early green cabbage, green cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, another kind of kale, bok choy, some Napa cabbage, peppers, melons, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant. It goes on and on and on.”

But the crop that Schreiber figures will be more lucrative than any of them was “completely unfamiliar” to him — a “foreign world.”

Until a grower came to him wanting to know how to control mites on marijuana plants; that’s when Schreiber realized he’d better learn about the cannabis plant.

He turned out to have a source of knowledge on his own staff.

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