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New Orleans Police Say Rats Are Eating Their Marijuana, ‘They’re All High’

Emily Mullins

by Emily Mullins

March 13, 2024 11:40 am ET Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
New Orleans Police Say Rats Are Eating Their Marijuana, ‘They’re All High’

The New Orleans Police Department is currently housed in a building with a myriad of problems. Mold, cockroaches, bad plumbing, and a poor HVAC system are just a few of the issues they face on a daily basis. But their most recent troubles? Pests.

Cockroaches and rats have taken over the building, leaving droppings on desks and breaking into evidence lockers on a daily basis. The rats, in particular, have found a new food source they’re crazy for–namely, cannabis. “The rats are eating our marijuana,” Police Department Superintendent Anne Kirkpatrick told the city council’s Criminal Justice Committee at a hearing on the building’s sanitation. “They’re all high.”

Kirkpatrick is pushing for new headquarters, stating that, “The uncleanliness is off the charts. The janitorial cleaning [team] deserves an award trying to clean what is uncleanable.”

Unfortunately, the rats are not a new problem. An anonymous NOPD source told reporters that rats have been in the building for two decades, starting after Hurricane Katrina flooded the basements in 2005. However, these are the first reports of them eating cannabis products in the evidence lockup.

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While it hasn’t been said what kind of marijuana products the rats are consuming, raw flower is not likely to get them stoned. In order to do so, it would need to be decarbed (heated) first to activate the THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. However, if the rats are eating edibles, it’s entirely possible that they are getting high after all.

Studies have demonstrated that THC can have an effect on rats, leading them to feel more chill and sluggish, much like with humans. Fortunately, stoned rats are probably not very dangerous and may be less of a threat than sober rats.

Police are hopeful that this won’t be a problem for much longer. Kirkpatrick asked the city council to consider relocating the NOPD into a new high-rise building downtown, where they would stay for ten years until a more permanent solution comes up. It could cost up to $30 million to renovate the current building, and it may take some time for the work to begin.

This isn’t the first time rats have eaten cannabis in police lockups. Police departments in Argentina and India have also reported the disappearance of hundreds of pounds of weed due to pests and vermin, so the taste of cannabis must greatly appeal to rats and mice. It has caused problems for officers, leading to firings and court cases regarding the vanishing of seized products. Fortunately for NOPD officials, nobody is being charged for the eaten marijuana.

Council member Oliver Thomas has come to expect surprises as the NOPD pushes for a new building, and the news of the rats was no exception. “She seems to have a low tolerance for rats,” Thomas said of Kirkpatrick. “Just like me.”

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