Maine restaurant sedating lobsters with marijuana to ease the pain of cooking

(CBSNews) -- A restaurant in Seawall, Maine, is known for cooking up "legendary" lobsters, but doesn't want the crustaceans to leave this world in pain. So, Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound says it's getting some lobsters high before they meet their maker. 

The restaurant's owner, Charlotte Gill, spoke to The Mount Desert Islander about why she chose to "hot box" lobsters. "I feel bad that when lobsters come here there is no exit strategy," Gill said. She first tried the technique on a lobster named Roscoe. 

Roscoe was placed in a box with about two inches of water. Marijuana smoke was blown into the water through a hole in the bottom, and Roscoe got "baked." Marijuana is legal in Maine and Roscoe seemed to enjoy his first time getting high — he was much calmer when he was put back in the tank with other lobsters. As a reward for his participation in the experiment, the lobster was returned back into the ocean, Gill told the Mount Desert Islander. 

The experiment was a success and lobsters at the restaurant can now be sedated at the customer's request. "If we're going to take a life we have a responsibility to do it as humanely as possible," Gill, an animal rights supporter, said. 

The restaurateur holds a medical marijuana caregiver license and grows her own marijuana plants. She also has a license that allows her to pick and sell the cooked lobster meat, she told the Mount Desert Islander. Both the cannabis and lobster will be sourced by Gill, ensuring their quality.

Finding ways to reduce lobsters' pain is not a new concept. Earlier this year, Switzerland banned the common cooking method of tossing a live lobster into a big pot of boiling water, deeming it cruel since lobsters can sense pain, KHOU reported.

Gill argues that the kinder killing method will make the animal happier — and happier lobsters mean better tasting meat. "The difference it makes within the meat itself is unbelievable," she said. "Everything you put into your body is energy."

The restaurant owner hopes that by next year, all lobsters will be sedated before being steamed. She insists eating the sedated lobster will not make you high, but says customers will still be able to have their lobster cooked the traditional way. 

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