Maine investigates restaurant that gives lobsters pre-boil marijuana

Following news last week about a restaurant giving cannabis to crustaceans, officials in the state of Maine are now investigating the procedure with the restaurant reportedly halting production of its ‘smoked lobster’.

As reported by the Portland Press Herald, The Maine Health Inspection Program is now investigating Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor after news broke that the restaurant was sedating lobsters with cannabis before killing them.

The restaurant remains open, but is not serving its ‘smoked lobster’ as enquiries are ongoing.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Health Inspection Program, would not comment as to whether the restaurant had been told to stop giving cannabis to lobsters.

In an email to the Portland Press Herald, however, the owner, Charlotte Gill, said that she’s confident the restaurant will be serving its ‘smoked lobsters’ again.

“After being contacted by the state, and upon reviewing its present laws and codes applicable to this arena, and then making a few minor adjustments to our procedure, we are completely confident that we will be able to proceed as planned,” she said.

“Keep in mind this meat is presently not available, and we don’t expect it to be for a little while longer under the circumstances. Soon though.

“I imagine we will still have a push back from the state on our hands, but we are confident that we will be able to field any issues they may have with us, and do it with grace.

“These are important issues and ones that can also benefit not only the lobster, but the industry as well. Truly we are not trying to go against [the state’s] wishes and would love to work with them in order for us all to make this world a kinder place”.

Gill is a licensed medical marijuana caregiver and legally grows her own cannabis.

While she has permission to use the drug on patients, it remains uncertain whether lobsters fall within the remit.

In order to sedate the lobsters, Gill places them in a box with two inches of water and feeds cannabis smoke into the water. She believes that crustaceans are calmer following the treatment with their claws not needing to be banded.

Earlier this year, Switzerland banned the practice of boiling lobsters alive, instead ordering that they are stunned prior to being killed.

In the UK, crustaceans such as lobsters, squid, crabs and crayfish are not protected under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and thus there are no guidelines governing how they should be killed.

The RSPCA recommends that electrical stunning is the most humane and effective method “as it renders them immediately insensible before death”, with mechanical killing (cutting) required to take place shortly afterwards.

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