As its name suggests, Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound, in Seawall, Maine, is famous for its take on the popular crustacean. But in an effort to make the practice more humane, the restaurant is experimenting with using marijuana to sedate some of its lobsters before dropping them into the pot.
The first lobster to undergo the experiment is called Roscoe, owner Charlotte Gill told the Mount Desert Islander. Roscoe was placed in a covered bowl for a few minutes as marijuana smoke was blown into the about two inches of water inside, the community newspaper reported.
After sedating the lobster, Gill removed Roscoe's claw bands and then replaced him in the tank with the other lobsters. For the following three weeks, Gill observed Roscoe's temperament to study whether the drug had any effects, either positive or adverse, on the animal, according to The Islander. Gill, who holds a medical marijuana caregiver license with the state, concluded that Roscoe was behaving far less aggressively toward the others, and added that Roscoe's mood appeared to be rubbing off on the others.
"I feel bad that when lobsters come here there is no exit strategy," Gill said. "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."
Last week, Roscoe was returned to the ocean as a "thank you" for his contribution to the experiment, Gill said.
Gill is a long-time animal rights supporter who keeps two pet goats on the restaurant premises. She said she has long struggled with the options she has when it comes to serving her restaurant's flagship dish.
Earlier this year, Switzerland banned the boiling of live lobsters, citing studies that suggest the crustaceans can feel pain, as USA Today reported at the time. The legislation calls for rendering the animals unconscious before cooking them, either by electrocution or by stabbing it in the brain.
"These are both horrible options," Gill said, as quoted in The Islander report. "If we're going to take a life we have a responsibility to do it as humanely as possible."
Throughout this year, Gill has cooked her lobsters the traditional way, by boiling or steaming, but has a separate station for the sedated animals to be prepared, at customers' request. By next year, she hopes to have completely transitioned to the new technique.
Gill said the method does not infuse the lobster's meat with THC. But to ensure that no THC is carried over, Gill said she will expose the meat of the crustacean to high temperatures of 420 degrees since THC breaks down by 392 degrees, she contended.
"I'm not selling an edible," she clarified, referring to an edible product that contains THC.