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A DEA Agent Tried to Stop Medical Weed from Coming to Utah By Saying Bunnies Will Get Stoned

Cranky law enforcement types are running out of arguments against weed.
March 2, 2015, 11:30pm

Via Flickr user Yuri Levchenko

On Thursday, DEA Special Agent Matt Fairbanks warned a state senate panel that stoned rabbits might be part of the Utah's future. The legislature is currently considering Senate Bill 259, which would allow really sick people to consume medical marijuana edibles. According to Fairbanks, it would also allow bunnies to get really, really high.

Fairbanks's argument—scheduled in between a discussion on prostitution laws and something called "grandparent's rights"—was apparently gleaned from 23 years of experience with the agency, where he's a member of the marijuana task force.


"I've come to represent the actual science, and I come with severe concerns," he told the committee members.

He said that as part of his job, he's spent time on mountainsides, where he's run into bunnies that have "cultivated a taste" for pot after stumbling into some illegal grow operations. "One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone," Fairbanks explained.

Some (anecdotal) evidence supports Fairbank's assertion that rabbits will seek out pot. In 2011, police in Denmark busted an 84-year-old woman who was unknowingly feeding weed to her bunnies. For what it's worth, she said they "loved it."

Pet forum users make a similar argument. "Today, Echo (the bunny) and I were in my backyard, and I was smoking around her," user SixxAm wrote on RabbitsOnline in 2012. "She hopped up onto my knee's [sic] and stuck her face in my smoke. She seemed to enjoy it, so I continued with her."

But what matters isn't that rabbits "cultivate a taste" for weed, as Fairbanks puts it. The important thing is how might impact their health. And for all the DEA agent's claims about "represent[ing] science," he seems to have missed one study that actually looked at happens to rabbits when they're stoned. In 1976, four scientists took on this question for the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health and found the answer was basically nothing.


"It may be concluded that THC treatment subcutaneously for 13 days in rabbits up to a dose level of 100 mg/kg/day did not produce any significant toxicity, except anorexia and some local dermal irritation," the authors of the study wrote.

As of right now, medical marijuana is legal in about half of the states. Last month, the surgeon general admitted it "may be helpful." According to NORML, 18 states have even decriminalized the drug.

So what do federal agents have left to scare people with when they don't have social stigma, reefer madness or fear of prison time on their side? Apparently, little besides the terrifying prospect of bunnies getting high.

Back in December, the US Senate approved an amendment blocking the Department of Justice from going after medical marijuana dispensaries—a key moment in the decades-long war on drugs

That furry critters are pretty much the only remaining plausible victims of pot decriminalization suggests the end of that war might be even closer than we thought.

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