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Utah State Senator Tries Cannabis Ahead of Vote on Medical Marijuana Initiative

Just ahead of his state voting on medical marijuana, State Senator Jim Dabakis of Utah decided to try it out.

A.J. Herrington

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Utah State Senator Tries Cannabis Ahead of Vote on Medical Marijuana Initiative
Senator Jim Dabakis/ Facebook

A Utah state senator decided to try cannabis before the state’s upcoming vote on a medical marijuana initiative and a legislative special session on the subject. Sen. Jim Dabakis, a Democrat from Salt Lake City, drove to a Las Vegas dispensary for the experience. Dabakis made it clear in a video that he posted to Facebook that he was trying cannabis for the first time.

“Now, I have to admit somewhat shyly, I have never tasted, smoked, eaten, or shot up marijuana in my life,” he said.

Utah voters will decide on Proposition 2, a medical marijuana initiative, in November’s midterm election. And in what many see as an attempt to derail that initiative, legislators are expected to hammer out a compromise on medical marijuana at a special session after the election. Dabakis said that the upcoming debate inspired his decision to try cannabis.

“It dawned on me (last) Wednesday on the floor of the Senate that the legislature is going to have the final say on this medical marijuana,” Dabakis said. “I thought, ‘Maybe nobody on this floor has ever tried marijuana.’ I think if the legislature would actually try it they would … realize this is no big deal, and at least let those who are suffering have the help that they need.”

Dabakis’ video shows him outside the dispensary with the purchase he had just made inside. After a few moments of difficulty spent trying to overcome a child-resistant package, Dabakis triumphantly displayed a large tangerine cannabis gummy bear. He then ate half the edible, the amount dispensary staff had recommended for a first-time user.

After chewing the medicated candy, Dubakis seemed unimpressed by the confection.

“I wouldn’t recommend it as sheer candy,” he said. “It’s kind of bitter.”

Dabakis then explained he would be driven back to his hotel to “go lay around the pool or do something,” promising to report back on his experience.

Until this moment, I was a marijuana virgin. Ending that now. At least one legislator ought to try the stuff before we change the law!

Posted by Senator Jim Dabakis on Saturday, October 20, 2018

‘No Big Deal’

The next day Dubakis posted a second video, reporting that he was healthy and had returned to Salt Lake City.

“I wouldn’t suggest shooting up marijuana to anybody, but I’ll tell you, I think it’s a lot of ho-hum,” Dubakis said. “I think a lot of the reefer madness crowd – you guys, you need to try it. It’s not that big a deal.”

Dubakis admitted that he had indeed noticed the psychoactive effects of cannabis from his experiment.

“I felt a little high, you know, a little bit okay,” he said. “But, it didn’t change my life.”

“So, everybody, mellow out. Recognize this is nothing to be afraid of because the people that are terrified by it seem to be the people who have never tried it,” he added.

Dubakis then suggested that his colleagues in the legislature also perform a similar experiment before the special session.

“Before they have the big revision of Prop. 2, which is what they are going to do. Make no mistake, the anti, reefer madness people are in total control now, and they’re going to rewrite what the people have there,” he warned.

Dubakis concluded his video with a reminder for cannabis activists to go to the polls on election day.

“Vote for Prop. 2. Because if you don’t, trust me, they will either not pass medical marijuana, or they will put such poison pills in there that nobody will be able to get medical marijuana. And they’ll say, ‘well, you know, the people voted against it.'”

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