A restaurant is using marijuana on lobsters before cooking them

Lobster Pound is trying to find a more humane way to kill lobsters. The owner, Charlotte Gill, has been placing lobsters in a covered box with 2 inches of water at the bottom, then blowing cannabis smoke into the water in hopes of sedating the lobsters to make their upcoming deaths less traumatic.

According to Gill, the lobsters are calmer after exposure to the cannabis smoke, and do not wield their claws again, even when they are left unbanded.

But lobster scientists are less certain of the sedative effect, noting that lobsters don’t use their claws as weapons, and whether it would make their deaths less traumatic. 

Scientists say dropping a lobster in boiling water destroys that nervous system so fast that they are unlikely to feel anything. 

But not everyone agrees. Earlier this year, Switzerland decided to ban boiling live lobsters, citing studies that suggest the crustacean can feel pain. New Zealand instituted the same ban in 1999. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – or PETA – has staged protests at major lobster festivals to draw attention to the practice of boiling lobsters alive.

Gill's experiment has raised the question again: How do you kill a lobster ethically?

Recently, Gill had set up a station at the restaurant where customers could request their lobsters be sedated with marijuana before they were boiled or steamed. They still had the option of having their lobster cooked traditionally.

Lobster Pound is now being investigated by the Maine Health Inspection Program.