This Restaurant Gives Cannabis to Lobsters Before They’re Cooked. The State of Maine Wants it to Stop.
Authorities in Maine have asked the owner of a popular seafood joint to stop sedating lobsters with cannabis before they’re cooked.
Because apparently that’s a thing.
Charlotte Gill, owner of Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor, Maine, says she is convinced that a small dose of cannabis can help calm crustaceans before they're cooked in a traditional lobster pot.
Gill has designed what could be considered the equivalent of a bong hit for lobsters in a small plastic box, without any residual effects for consumers.
"Basically, it's a device that allows smoke to go through a hosing system or tubing system. It saturates a low level of water in a container and then it fills the air space above it," Gill says.
She calls this method "high-end lobster." She says the approach makes a monumental difference for the animal. "We are under this impression that lobsters don't feel any pain," Gill says, but as someone who regularly handles them and serves them to customers she thinks that's "bull."
Gill says she's observed enough lobsters to be able to tell that the little hit of marijuana makes a positive difference before they meet their maker. She thinks they're more relaxed, almost sedated, and that's something she considers more humane than the approach taken earlier this year in Switzerland, where it's now illegal to boil a live lobster. The Swiss law is part of country's constitutional provision to "protect the dignity of the creature," and is the first of its kind in the world. The law requires chefs cooking lobsters to "render them unconscious" first.
Compassionate as it may sound, the state wants Gill’s relaxation techniques to cease. They stopped short of demanding -- perhaps because the legislation on this is thin -- but have sent her a request in the firmest way possible.
Gill has a license to grow medical marijuana. However, "medical marijuana may only be grown for and provided to persons with a marijuana recommendation from a qualified medical provider. Lobsters are not people,” said David Heidrich, spokesperson for the Maine Medical Marijuana Program.
Gill said she is not currently selling the stoned crustaceans to customers but hopes to do so in the future.
Sedated or not, her lobsters seem to be flying off the shelves thanks to the publicity.