SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine – A Maine restaurant is taking a high-minded approach to killing its lobsters by first getting the crustaceans stoned on marijuana.
Charlotte Gill is the owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor. She says that sedating the lobsters before boiling them may make their deaths less traumatic.
“I feel bad that when lobsters come here there is no exit strategy,” Gill told the Mount Desert Islander. "I’ve really been trying to figure out how to make it better.”
A lobster named Roscoe was the first to be treated with marijuana. Gill said she experimented by placing Roscoe in a covered box with two inches of water at the bottom, and then blowing marijuana smoke into the water.
Gill removed Roscoe's claw bands after the experiment, and kept them off for nearly three weeks. She says Roscoe's mood seemed different, as he never again wielded his claws as weapons against other lobsters in the tank.
Roscoe was eventually released into the wild for being the first subject in her experiment.
Throughout the 2018 season, Gill has been boiling or steaming lobsters alive, as usual. However, she has set up a separate station at the restaurant where lobsters can be sedated with cannabis prior to being killed, at the customer's request.
One concern may be that the meat would become infused with THC (the primary psychoactive component of cannabis), but Gill says she is confident there are no residual effects on customers.
“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 explained in an email to the Mount Desert Islander.
Gill plans to eventually use a larger tank that will hold multiple lobsters while an air mattress pump infuses the water with marijuana smoke.
Gill says that the method not only makes the lobsters happier, but it produces better tasting meat as well. “The difference it makes within the meat itself is unbelievable,” she said.