While your family hunts for Easter eggs this weekend, the Easter Bunny is routing around for marijuana. At least that's what a DEA agent suggested when he pleaded with the state of Utah not to legalize medical marijuana because it could lead to a rise in cannabis use among bunnies.
On Feb. 26, 2015, the Utah Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 259, which would have expanded the state's CBD-only medical marijuana program and allowed patients to access marijuana flower and edibles.
Speaking against the bill was DEA Special Agent Matt Fairbanks, who discussed the many environmental hazards caused by marijuana. Fairbanks was certainly right that growing marijuana can harm the environment. As part of the DEA's cannabis eradication program in Utah, Fairbanks offered great insights into the harms of unregulated pesticide use, deforestation, erosion and contaminated water.
But then he went off about rabbits:
"The deforestation has left marijuana grows with even rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana where one of them refused to leave us. And we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone."
In fact, the rabbit Fairbanks encountered may have been acting normally. As Abby Haglage of The Daily Beast noted, animals like rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks commonly freeze when they fear that a predator is nearby. So the rabbit in question was probably high on adrenaline, not cannabis.
Moreover, Fairbanks doesn't clarify whether or not he actually witnessed the rabbit chewing cannabis, so its alleged dependence and reckless behavior on the drug are likely based on circumstantial evidence. And it's unlikely that rabbits can get high at all. A Mashable article noted that bunnies probably can't get high because there's not enough fat in their diets to absorb THC.
The DEA, meanwhile, has no documented evidence to suggest that rabbits are prone to cannabis addiction. On Mar. 4, 2015, Beryl Lipton, a member of MuckRock - a website dedicated to keeping the government accountable - says she filed a request the DEA's intel on rabbits under the Freedom of Information Act. She asked for "[a]ny 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."
In February, 2016, she received a letter from the DEA saying, "After reviewing your request, no responsive records were located."
In other words, there is no link between rabbits and cannabis consumption. But we do know of at least one rabbit that is tripping out.