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Health inspectors investigate Maine restaurant that gets lobsters high before cooking them [UPDATED]

Illustration for article titled Health inspectors investigate Maine restaurant that gets lobsters high before cooking them [UPDATED]
Photo: eldadcarin (iStock), IvanMikhaylov (iStock)

Update, September 24, 2018: In a move that surely no one saw coming, the Maine Health Inspection Program is investigating a restaurant’s practice of getting lobster high on marijuana before cooking and serving them to diners. The Portland Press-Herald reports the eatery, Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound, has not been shut down but has temporarily stopped serving lobster “sedated” via this method. Owner Charlotte Gill says she’ll have to make some updates to her methodology, but is confident she’ll be back to serving these erm, baked lobsters by mid-October.

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Lobster meat is delicious, but as we’ve discussed, getting a live lobster from tank to plate isn’t one of our favorite activities. It’s hard not to feel bad for the spiny crustaceans, which is what motivated Maine restaurant owner Charlotte Gill to employ an unorthodox, “humane” method at her eatery: she says the kitchen gets the lobsters stoned before killing them.

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I’m no carcinologist, but I have some questions about the scientific details of such a practice. The Mount Desert Islander reports Gill pumps marijuana smoke into a shallow tank via an air mattress pump, which she says she is able to do legally because she has a medical marijuana provider’s license. Gill claims the lobsters are then in a more sedated state; one test lobster, Roscoe, was supposedly more calm and docile in the weeks after his um, smoke session. (While the restaurant, Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound, is touting this method as compassionate, I can’t imagine swimming along in my tank like any other day, and then suddenly being transported to another tank where I start to feel high as a kite for the first time in my life. Sounds terrifying, honestly.)

Anyway, the restaurant has for a few months been offering guests the option to have their lobster prepared normally or sedated with marijuana before cooking. Gill says there are no residual THC effects in the meat itself because the lobsters are prepared by heating them above 420 degrees for an extended period of time; she says THC breaks down completely at 392 degrees. Again, I’m no biologist, but don’t substances in water concentrate in crustaceans? Just posing the question. The restaurant, for its part, swears the lobster meat is better-tasting if it’s been sedated before cooking.

I’m trying hard to reserve judgment about this, given I’ve never tried a “sedated” lobster nor taken a crustacean-focused science class. But as a person who loves words, I do have the authority to say it’s a crying shame they didn’t try this first with stone(d) crabs.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

hendenburg3
Cayde-6's Unloaded Dice

Yeah, no. Just because a lobster absorbs THC through its gills doesn’t mean it gets high.

Lobsters are invertebrates, and the neurological systems of invertebrates have major differences from those in Phylum Chordata. A lot of insecticides work by affecting chemical receptors present in invertebrates that are not present in vertebrates. I can’t say whether lobsters have cannabinoid receptors like humans do (you need cannabinoid receptors in your neurons to get high from pot), but even if they do, there is no guarantee that THC or CBD would affect lobsters the same way they do humans.


So for crom’s sake, people.  Just use your damn freezer.