Getting lobsters high A.F. before boiling them alive - not just humane, but makes them taste better too

Getting lobsters high A.F. before boiling them alive - not just humane, but makes them taste better too

VicesSeptember 27, 2018 By Will Brendza

As the legalization of marijuana sweeps from one state to the next, things are getting positively bizarre in this country, and in the best ways possible. New and innovative uses for cannabis are being concocted all the time: cannabis capsules for senior citizens, CBD treats for dogs, cannabis incense, even weed pork…

And in Maine, Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound has taken this movement to a whole new level. They are actually using marijuana to sedate their lobsters before cooking them, in hopes that the shellfish won’t feel as much pain.

It’s like that last cigarette death row inmates get to enjoy before getting zapped to a crisp. These lobsters, bound for the boiling pot, get to get high AF before they are dropped to their steamy doom. It’s a strange form of mercy, but it’s one that Charlotte Gill, the owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound, thinks is absolutely necessary.

photo - Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound (Photo credit Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound)

“I’ve had the restaurant for about seven and a half years and I’ve cooked thousands of lobsters and I’m here to tell you that they absolutely, undoubtedly feel pain when they’re put into a hot pot,” she says.

So, in an effort to make lobster executions more humane, Gill came up with a genius plan: hotbox the crustaceans. Get them baked off their rockers. Stone them to death…

As a medical marijuana caregiver, Gill was familiar with the sedative qualities of cannabis; she had access to the goods (because she grows it herself) and had a good idea for how to use them. So, she put together an experiment, that involved a lobster named Roskoe, a rectangular smoking box, and a little bit of her homegrown dank. Here’s how it worked:

The box was filled with about two inches of water, Roskoe was placed inside, and then the lid was clamped shut. They then pumped smoke through a straw into the box, down to percolate up through the water, filling it with filtered marijuana smoke. They then let Roskoe chill in there for a few before taking him out to assess the effects…

“When we took him out of the box he was very calm, very placid and very clearly influenced by this [cannabis],” Gill says.

So, it worked. Or at least, we think it did. There are still a number of tests that Gill has to have done before she can start selling these cannabis treated lobsters at her restaurant – but she is confident that that’s only a few weeks away.

“We’re calling it high-end’ lobster meat,” she says. And it is not going to be any more expensive than regular lobster meat. “We’re doing this for the benefit of the lobster, not our wallets.”

Let’s clear something up though: this meat will not get you high. It is not an edible and it does not have any cannabis content in it. It won’t even taste like weed does. It will taste like lobster. In fact, Gill says, it will probably taste better than any lobster meat you’ve ever had.

“Not only is it more humane for the animal itself, but the end product is a meat that doesn’t have those stress hormones in it,” she says. “So, the flavor is actually better and the quality of the product is just better all the way around.”

It’s the same reason why slaughter houses play classical music and keep their cows blind to the executioner’s bolt as they move along the conveyor belt – stressed cows, produce stress hormones which produce stressed out meat. Keep them comfortable, relaxed and ignorant to their fate and their meat will taste better.

Same goes for getting animals high, apparently.

However, some scientists are still unsure whether or not lobsters feel pain. Robert Bayer is the director of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, and he told the Washington Post that, while Lobsters can sense their environment, “they probably don’t have the ability to process pain.”

Maybe not. But, nevertheless, while experts like Bayer don’t think these savory shellfish experience “pain” exactly, countries like Switzerland and New Zealand have made it illegal to boil lobsters without stunning or killing them first. And across America, chefs typically kill lobsters and crabs before dropping them in the pot. It’s standard practice.

Which, if nothing else, demonstrates that people have reservations. Boiling animals alive raises moral question marks, especially when they’re screaming through the whole process.

“This world is a pretty scary sad place and any little bit that you can do as a human being to take some of that suffering out of it, I think you should do it,” says Gill.

That’s hard to argue with.

photo - Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound (Photo credit Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound)

So, by mid to late October, Mainers can hopefully get their hands on some “high-end lobster meat” at Charlotte’s. And, she hopes, that people even outside of Maine will be able to do so as well.

“The nice thing is, because [these lobsters] will not contain cannabis after being cooked, there is no reason why our lobster cannot be shipped nationally or perhaps even internationally,” she says.

Which would be good news for lobster lovers and lobsters alike. Even if you don’t live in Maine, even if you live in a state that doesn’t have legal cannabis, you might still be able to get your hands on Charlotte's legendary high-end lobster meat.