Police have blamed the disappearance of more than 400 pounds of cannabis on rodents in a police warehouse, saying that rats ate the cannabis seized from an illegal drug operation. And, apparently, it’s the third time this has happened, and yet another weird-but-true story involving marijuana.
This rodent crime against cannabis came to light when a court in Uttar Pradesh state in northern India asked police to produce the weed as evidence in a case against drug dealers. Marijuana is not legal for possession in India.
According to the BBC, documents from a court in Uttar Pradesh state said that “rats are tiny animals, and they have no fear of the police. It’s difficult to protect the drug from them.”
There’s some question, however, about whether this is another example of a tall tale to cover a more nefarious plot among humans, not rats.
Third Time For Rats to Eat Cannabis in India
The judge in the case, Sanjay Chaudary, said there have been three recent cases when rodents destroyed a stash of cannabis kept by police. Judge Chaudhary said in a court order that when asked to produce the seized cannabis, police reported that rats “destroyed” 195kg (about 430 pounds) of cannabis.
Another case involved even more cannabis, with rats eating a portion of 386 kg of marijuana stored for a case. That equates to about 850 pounds. It’s enough of a problem that Judge Chaudhary wrote that another 700kg (1,543 pounds) of marijuana stored at police stations and warehouses in the Mathura district in India is all “under danger of infestation by rats.”
He said that police lacked the expertise to deal with “such fearless mice” and added that perhaps the best way to deal with the situation is to auction the cannabis to research labs and medicine firms, with the profit from the sales going to the government.
It’s possible to read the judge’s comments as being both straightforward or perhaps extremely sarcastic. That’s because reports about the case implied that not everyone believes the “rats eat cannabis” story. For example, the BBC cited a similar event in 2018 in Argentina, where officials eventually discovered that police officers lied about rats eating a half ton of cannabis in a police warehouse.
Also, police in the east Indian state of Bihar blamed rats for consuming alcohol that disappeared from police custody after the state banned alcohol use.
There also seem to be questions about exactly how police store marijuana in India. MP Singh, a senior police official of Mathura district, told reporters some marijuana stored in police stations in his area were “damaged due to heavy rains” and not destroyed by rats. Which raises the question: are police in India stacking up bails of marijuana outside?
What Happens When Rats Eat Cannabis?
Do rats like to get high? That seems a natural question given the supposed events in India. The answer, based on scientific research, appears to be “maybe.”
For example, a 2016 British Columbia study cited by CNN found that rats become lazy after given THC, the chemical agreement in cannabis that causes the high. Scientists trained 29 rats to perform an experiment in which they received increasingly larger treats for completing harder tasks.
A majority of the rats chose the harder tasks to win the bigger rewards, but that changed after researchers gave them THC. After that, they stopped choosing the harder tasks, settling for the easy ones.