The DEA Might Have It Out for the Easter Bunny

By David Jenison on April 17, 2017

The Easter Bunny will deliver candy eggs to excited kids across the country this weekend. Sure, rabbits don't lay eggs, but the Easter Chicken doesn't quite have the same ring to it. The disconnect is understandable since most people don't raise rabbits, but the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) deals in prohibited plants, so ideally its agents should know something about cannabis. Two years ago, a pack of bunnies exposed a DEA agent as a fraud. 

"I deal in facts," declared DEA agent Matt Fairbanks to a Utah Senate panel in 2015. "I deal in science."

What an apropos preface to bullshit. 

Fairbanks, a cannabis-eradication agent in the Brigham Young state, testified before the panel (in between sessions on hookers and grandparent rights, if you can believe that) in opposition to Senate Bill 259 that would legalize medical cannabis for people with debilitating conditions like AIDS and cancer. In his argument against helping cancer patients, the agent pointed to weed addicts… amongst the bunny population. 

"[I've seen] rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana," said Fairbanks, adding "the" before marijuana like only a narc would. "One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone."

It's not every agent that will put rabbit junkies before cancer patients, but Fairbanks should know the "taste" for "the marijuana" was, if true, nothing more than a culinary preference, not the result of some addiction or high. 

Per the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the psychoactive compound in cannabis (THC) is "better absorbed orally if fat is ingested with it. When THC is absorbed, it is then distributed to the lipid layers of body fat, liver, kidney, and brain." Rabbits have a plant-based diet, which makes the inclusion of fat unlikely. Rather, the little hoppers probably came to "really like" the taste of cannabis plants, which is not unique to rabbits. Just check out Sugar Bob, the "pot-eating deer." 

In 2016, the House Rabbit Society also noted, "So far, there is no evidence on marijuana toxicity in rabbits, so we don’t know whether rabbits could be negatively impacted by either eating the plant or being exposed to marijuana smoke."

Before you ask, yes, researchers actually have conducted clinical studies on getting rabbits stoned. Surely a DEA agent in charge of cannabis would know this. 

In response to the agent's claims, a reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request stating, "I hereby request the following records: Any and all reports, memos, notes, communications, or other materials related to the relationship between rabbits and marijuana, the effects of marijuana on rabbits, and the effects of marijuana legalization on rabbits or other animal populations. It was reported that special agent Matt Fairbanks recently presented testimony to a Utah Senate panel on the effects of marijuana on local wildlife."

The DEA's response? "No responsive records were located."

Fairbanks got a lot of attention for his uninformed remark, but at least he didn't launch a full-scale raid to seize a retiree's okra plants. While video evidence (see below) shows that Jeff Sessions actually likes to kill and eat rabbits, the Easter Bunny is probably safe for now. In the meantime, cannabis aficionados will surely enjoy gorging on Easter eggs this weekend as they philosophize about rabbits laying eggs and carrots being a gateway veggie. 

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