A restaurant owner in Maine is trying something new when it comes to killing and cooking lobsters they serve to customers.
Charlotte Gill, who has owned Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor for the last seven years, conducted an experiment with getting lobsters high off marijuana smoke before killing and cooking them. She says she believes the THC helps sedate the shellfish, making their deaths less traumatic.
"I feel bad that when lobsters come here there is no exit strategy," Gill told the Mount Desert Islander. "It’s a unique place and you get to do such unique things but at the expense of this little creature. I’ve really been trying to figure out how to make it better."
Gill conducted her experiment by placing one of their crankiest lobsters (nicknamed Roscoe), into a box with a few inches of water at the bottom. Marijuana smoke was then blown through the water and into the box.
According to Gill, the experiment was a success. She says Roscoe was far calmer and less aggressive following his marijuana treatment and didn't attack other lobsters in the tank, despite having his claws unbound.
Gill later released Roscoe back into the sea as a "thank you" for participating in the restaurant's experiment.
The restaurant says they've set up a special outdoor station where lobsters can be sedated by the marijuana smoke, but say they will only sedate the crustation at customer request. Gill says at some point, she plans on building an even larger tank in order to sedate multiple shellfish at once.
"The animal is already going to be killed," said Gill. "It is far more humane to make it a kinder passage."
Maine legalized recreational marijuana earlier this year after state lawmakers overrode Maine Gov. Paul LePage's veto of LD 1719. The first shops will start selling recreational weed sometime in 2019, officials say. Right now, people over the age of 21 can grow up to six plants, make edibles using their own marijuana, use, possess and transport up to 2.5 ounces of weed. Weed can also currently be given to adults in Maine so long as there's no exchange of money or item of value.
If you're worried about flying high after eating the lobster, Gill says that shouldn't be a problem. The lobsters are steamed before they're served to customers, which should destroy any residual traces of THC.
"THC breaks down completely by 392 degrees, therefore we will use both steam as well as a heat process that will expose the meat to 420 degree extended temperature, in order to ensure there is no possibility of carryover effect (even though the likelihood of such would be literally impossible)," Gill said.
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