Maine government officials are not down with getting lobsters baked before boiling them alive, and have declared the practice illegal after Charlotte Gill, owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound, made headlines for her unusual pre-cooking methods.
Maine health inspectors said the “food served to consumers at licensed eating places and affected by marijuana, as has been described with this establishment, is adulterated and therefore illegal,” the New York Times reports.
The decision was made by the department because regulators do not currently “have information on the health implications or effects of ‘sedating’ lobsters with marijuana,” the Times reports.
Gill argues that that THC-infused smoke she uses to get the lobster stoned does not impact the edible lobster meat, as the crustacean will be boiled before being served.
“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),” she told the Islander. “I’m not selling an edible.”
Gill, who opened her restaurant in Southwest Harbor seven years ago, started experimenting with getting the lobsters high off marijuana smoke before killing and cooking them, believing it to be more humane than the traditional methods.
“I feel bad that when lobsters come here there is no exit strategy,” Gill told the Mount Desert Islander. “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.”
In the restaurant’s first experiment into the process, a lobster — nicknamed “Roscoe” — was placed into a box with a few inches of water at the bottom, and marijuana smoke was then blown through the water, into the box.
Gill, also a licensed medical marijuana caregiver in the state of Maine, claims Roscoe was much calmer and less aggressive for the subsequent three weeks, and didn’t try to attack the other lobsters in his tank even though his claws were unbound.
Following the tests, Gill dedicated a special outdoor station to sedating the lobsters with THC-infused smoke, but only at the customers’ requests.
“The animal is already going to be killed,” said Gill. “It is far more humane to make it a kinder passage.”
Though Maine officials feel differently about the process and have started investigating her restaurant, Gill tells Bangor Daily News she plans to continue using the method – but with a few minor adjustments to address the state’s concerns.
“After being contacted by the state, and upon reviewing its present laws and codes applicable to this [issue], we are completely confident that we can proceed as planned,” Gill said in a statement.