A seafood restaurant in Maine is under investigation for using cannabis in attempt to sedate the creatures before boiling them alive.

When interviewed earlier this month about the practice, Charlotte Gill, owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor explained her philosophy. “I feel bad that when lobsters come here there is no exit strategy,” Gill told the Portland Press Herald.

“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.”

But since then, likely because of the publicity, Gill has come under investigation from the Maine Health Inspection Program. A representative from the MHIP said that it would be up to the Maine Medical Marijuana Program to decide whether Gills practice was legitimate.

The MMMP does not comment on medical marijuana violations, but organization spokesperson David Heidrich told the Press Herald that Gill’s culinary methods were outside the bounds of state law.

“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.”

Through her own experimentation, Gill has arrived at what she feels is a more humane way to end crustacean life. She puts the lobsters in a tank with about two inches of water at the bottom, blows cannabis smoke into the water, and covers the tank, basically hotboxing the lobster.

The restaraunteur claims that she has observed lobsters becoming more calm after being smoked up. There is no science to backup her claims, however.

Former Lobster Institute director Robert Bayer of the University of Maine told the Press Herald that lobsters have a primitive nervous system, more akin to an insect than a human, and do not process sensations or drugs the same way humans do.

Scientists disagree on how painful boiling lobsters alive is. Some claim that their nervous system is destroyed so quickly that they likely feel no pain. But some countries, including Switzerland and New Zealand, have banned the practice of boiling lobsters alive because they find it cruel.

Gill believes the investigation is only a minor setback on her revolutionary technique.

“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,” she 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.”

Photo via Flickr user Adam Grimes