In a somewhat lighthearted story in this currently charged political climate, Democratic Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis went on Facebook Live this past Saturday in order to broadcast his first experience using cannabis. The quirky senator who is already well known by colleagues for his dramatic flair posted a 4 minute long video in which he experiments with cannabis edibles during a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada where recreational use was legalized this past year, that had garnered over 150,000 views by Tuesday afternoon alone.
The Senator says that he decided to conduct his much publicized cannabis experiment in order to familiarize himself with the substance prior to a special session regarding medicinal cannabis in Utah that is scheduled for next month. Dabakis said during the broadcast that: “I thought it was about time that at least one legislator knew a little about marijuana before we changed all the laws.”In the video, Dabakis is shown eating the suggested amount of half a gummy and then another whole one after a few hours since he didn’t quite feel any significant effects. After some more time had passed, the bold Senator described feeling “little buzz” but noted that it was nothing that would make him side against the Utah Medical Cannabis Act being rolled out in his home state. You would think with a name like Dab-akis, maybe he should have gone the shatter route if he really wanted to get high!
Fellow lawmakers aren’t so keen on the Senator’s theatrics and are refusing his challenge with Republican Senator David Hinkins stating: “Put it this way — I’m not going to accept the challenge.” Hinkins has also let it be known that he will not be voting in favor of Proposition 2, the medicinal cannabis ballot initiative, and likely will not support any cannabis legislation changes during the special session citing concerns about enabling recreational use and potentials for addiction. Other naysayers to Dabakis’ approach include Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum and a member of the anti cannabis legalization group Drug Safe Utah who staunchly opposes progressive policies regarding the substance stating: “It is a psychoactive drug, and it’s very dangerous. I don’t think we should make light of that.”
In the end Dabakis is really just advocating for his fellow lawmakers to try and keep an open mind when it comes to medicinal cannabis legislation as well as take into account how beneficial it could be to their constituents saying that: “We have this one perspective, one view on issues, and I think our state is greatly hurt…I think the lack of diversity…causes us to cut out a lot of people in the state of Utah who just feel like they aren’t represented.” We couldn’t agree with you more, Sen. Dabakis, and hope that other politicians follow suit.
Do you support lawmakers trying out cannabis before voting on legalization initiatives? Do you believe that this will inspire other lawmakers to use cannabis and related products if they are being tasked with voting on legislation?