By Mike Pomranz
Updated August 24, 2016
Credit: Marianna Massey/Nancy Honey

If you head to marijuana legalization bastions such as Colorado or Washington, you might be able to find some hippie-dippie pizza shop serving marijuana as a topping alongside the likes of pepperoni and anchovies. The authorities might not even bat an eye. But in Queens, New York, combining ones love of dough and dope is still frowned upon as one already infamous pizza chef recently found out.

According to DNIinfo New York, Whitney Aycock, owner and head chef of Whit’s End in Rockaway Beach, was arrested over the weekend for growing unlicensed cannabis. Aycock had already earned himself the nickname of the “Pizza Nazi” thanks to his brash tongue and penchant for things like charging five times the price if you try to order a pizza off-menu. This latest incident probably won’t help his reputation – with police alleging he had a marijuana plant visibly growing in the back of the restaurant – though maybe a little pot would help chill him out a bit.

The most interesting part of the arrest, however, is what the cops claim Aycock said to explain the suspect vegetation. At first, he reportedly stated it was a lemon verbena plant. “Those are herbs,” a criminal complaint quoted him as saying. “I use them for my restaurant.” Later, Aycock allegedly tried to pass the plant off as catnip before police hauled him away. You’d probably have to be smoking some pretty strong pizza herbs to think the authorities are going to buy those excuses.

In the end, though there are probably worse places to stash a marijuana plant than a pizza restaurant, having one in a place where, as DNAinfo states, police could see the distinct leaves and smell the pungent odor is probably not the best idea. For the record, though, Aycock still appears to be maintaining his innocence. “You should be speaking to the people who sold it to me,” he was quoted as saying.