Although mice have been known to occasionally nibble on cannabis plants, does it seem plausible that they could eat their way through 540kg of marijuana?
Police officials in the town of Pilar, just outside of Buenos Aires, certainly didn’t believe so. As a result, eight police officers have now been fired by State Minister of Security Cristian Ritondo over the disappearance of large quantities of the class B drug.
The missing marijuana came to light during a recent inspection of a police warehouse for impounded drugs. Only 5,460kg of marijuana was found, as opposed to the 6,000kg that had originally been accounted for.
The first suspect to be considered was Pilar’s former police commissioner Javier Specia, who failed to sign the inventory for the marijuana when he left his job in April of last year. However, when questioned in court, Specia and three of his former colleagues all claimed that the culprits were, in fact, a group of rodents.
In theory, there is method to their madness. It is not uncommon for mice and other rodents to be fed marijuana for medical testing, as their behaviour and genetics are similar to that of humans. In fact, in 2016, rats were used in a study by the University of British Columbia to prove that marijuana makes people “cognitively lazy”. Recently, however, studies involving mice have even been used to prove the positive effects that low doses of marijuana can have on humans. For example, a 2017 Nature Medicine study showed that small amounts can impact positively on the preservation of memory and learning ability.
Nevertheless, according to experts from Buenos Aires University, it would have been impossible for mice to have eaten such large quantities of marijuana. “If a large group of mice had eaten it, mice corpses would have been found all over the warehouse”, explained the professionals to Argentinian courts.
Spokespersons for the case have confirmed that it is now being investigated as to whether the drug disappeared due to “illicit activity or negligence”. Suspect Specia is also currently facing an internal police investigation as to why he is still to present his 2017 sworn income statement.