By Spencer Kellogg | @spencer_kellogg
During a recent weekend vacation to Nevada, incumbent Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis ate marijuana gummy bears to understand the effects of the plant better. “I thought it was about time that at least one legislator knew a little bit about marijuana before we changed all the laws,” Dabskis said outside of NuLeaf dispensary in Las Vegas.
The eccentric Senator posted a five-minute video to his Facebook account that showed him wrestling with the childproof packaging before grimacing as he ate one of the gummies. In his post, Dabakis noted his status as a ‘marijuana virgin’ and that he was interested in knowing the effects of the edible before a critical vote on medical marijuana in his home state.
“I have to admit, somewhat shyly, I have never tasted, smoked, eaten or shot up marijuana in my life.” (As a long-time marijuana user, I can also confirm that I have never ‘shot up’ marijuana). The earnestness of the Senator to step outside his boundaries and use real-life experience to help him better understand the ramifications of using marijuana is refreshing. It signals a fundamental shift in the political debate surrounding legalizing cannabis.
The Senator’s actions drew rave reviews from posters on Facebook. Commentators championed the Senator’s experiment with one poster suggesting that State level employees would lose their job for doing the same: “What you just tasted could cost a state employee their job!” Another Facebook user suggested the Senator eat some avocado toast to help the THC kick in: “You should eat some good fats like avocado toast that will activate the THC and you get to eat avocado toast.”
One of Dabakis’ colleagues, Senator David Hinkins, said he wasn’t interested in ingesting the plant substance: “Put it this way — I’m not going to accept the challenge.” Gayle Ruzicka, a member of the anti-drug coalition Drug Safe Utah, joined Hinkins with a critical assessment of the banned substance. “It is a psychoactive drug, and it’s very dangerous. I don’t think we should make light of that.”
Dabakis reported a mild effect from the substance and plans to vote for the proposition in November. “I survived, it all went well. Vote for Prop 2 because if you don’t, [the legislature] will not pass medical marijuana because the people voted against it.”