A Maine restaurant that had been sedating lobsters with cannabis before boiling them alive is now under investigation for the culinary preparation, according to media reports. Charlotte Gill, the owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor, Maine, had been offering the option to patrons ordering live Maine lobster at the restaurant.
But state regulators have taken notice and now the Maine Health Inspection Program is investigating the practice, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed.
Gill is a registered medical marijuana caregiver and grows the cannabis she uses for the lobster. But a spokesman for the Maine Medical Marijuana program, David Heidrich, said in an email that the use of cannabis was not appropriate.
“Medical marijuana may only be grown for and provided to persons with a marijuana recommendation from a qualified medical provider,” he said. “Lobsters are not people.”
Temporarily Off the Menu
The restaurant has temporarily stopped selling the “high-end lobster,” as Gill calls it, but she hopes to be able to offer it 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,” Gill 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.”
Gill hopes to be able to start selling lobster sedated with cannabis again by the middle of October. She expects that by then she will be able to comply with all state regulations but acknowledged in an email that inspectors may still balk at the plan.
“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,” Gill said.
Gill says that she has designed the new process to ensure that customers do not get high from eating the sedated lobster.
“For this new process though, in order to alleviate any and all concern about residual effect, as we will be dealing with the chemical compound THC, we will use a different method,” said Gill. “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 noted that she was trying to offer a more humane version of the Maine culinary classic.
“These are important issues and ones that can also benefit not only the lobster, but the industry as well,” Gill continued. “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.”
Roscoe: Lobster, Cannabis Pioneer
Gill told reporters last week that she had tested the effectiveness of cannabis as a sedative for the crustaceans with a lobster she named Roscoe. After he was exposed to the marijuana smoke, Roscoe was returned to a tank with other lobsters. He was reportedly calmer and restraining his claws with rubber bands was no longer necessary. After observing the lobster for three weeks to ensure he suffered no negative effects from the cannabis, Gill said that she returned Roscoe to the ocean as a reward for his service.