Utah senator tries pot ahead of medical marijuana vote, calls it ‘no big deal’

State Sen. Jim Dabakis speaks on the Senate floor at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City, Feb. 20, 2018 | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY  A state senator from Salt Lake City drove to Las Vegas and tried marijuana for the first time ahead of an upcoming vote on Proposition 2, which would legalize its use in Utah for individuals with qualifying medical conditions.

KUTV reports Sen. Jim Dabakis wanted to try cannabis before the vote.

Dabakis selected an edible gummy bear for the test, saying legislators should at least try marijuana before it’s up for vote next month.

Dabakis, a Democrat, says in a Facebook video in front of a dispensary that it’s “not a big deal.”

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

Many lawmakers have said they don’t support Proposition 2, but others have said they would support a medical cannabis compromise that’s set to be discussed in a special legislative session.

Read more: Medical marijuana compromise backed by LDS church; governor calls for special session

“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.

Looking around at the other legislators, the senator said something bothered him.

“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.”

In a follow-up video posted Tuesday morning, Dabakis says, “I survived the Gummy Bear! And I have an opinion.”

So what was the state senator’s verdict?

“I’ll tell you: I think it’s a lot of ho-hum. I think a lot of reefer madness crowd – you guys, you need to try it. It’s not that big a deal.”

Dabakis says he felt “a little high,” but it wasn’t some major, life-changing event.

“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 says.

As the video post continues, Dabakis says that perhaps the entirety of the Legislature should have a special session with medical staff present, as well as clergy to provide counsel that trying marijuana for personal information wouldn’t be counted as a sin.

It would be good to do this before the “big revision of Prop 2,” he says, as he expects the “anti-reefer madness people (who) are in total control now” will “rewrite what the people have there” in the medical marijuana ballot measure.

So having said all of that, I’m just saying (the marijuana was) no big deal.

Since its rollout in the summer of 2017, the medical marijuana ballot initiative, which became Proposition 2, enjoyed majority support among Utahns, reaching as high as 75 percent in a number of polls conducted by the Salt Lake Tribune and Utah Policy.

However, that started to change with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announcing its opposition to Proposition 2 in August and the accompanying compromise legislation that was introduced to the public earlier this month.

Read more: LDS church, others OK with medical marijuana but not how Proposition 2 would do it

The church joined an anti-Proposition 2 coalition that includes the Utah Medical Association, the Sutherland Institute, the Utah Chiefs of Police Association and various other medical, faith, civic and law enforcement groups and individuals.

While church representatives said repeatedly that the church supports the use of medical cannabis under proper regulation and distribution, they argued the framework established under Proposition 2 allowed for possible abuses and posed a threat to the state’s youth.

The crafters of the compromise legislation say their proposal addresses the objections of the church and others. The church itself put its stamp of approval on the proposed bill.

According to the results of a Salt Lake Tribune-Hickley Institute of Politics poll published Oct. 16, Proposition 2 has lost ground with Utahns.

According to the poll, support for the medical marijuana measure has dropped by 15 points since June, bringing support among Utah voters to just over 50 percent.

Among Latter-day Saints, support fell from around 54 percent in June to 28 percent in October.

Pass or fail, Gov. Gary Herbert said he will call a special session of the Legislature following the election so lawmakers can review the proposed compromise legislation and pass it.

Opponents of the compromise bill fear lawmakers either won’t bother to pass the law legalizing medical marijuana if Proposition 2 fails or will amend it so much that it will defeat the original goal of making it easier to get medical marijuana to patients.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • jpff October 24, 2018 at 7:15 am

    There are components to marijuana that have proven beneficial to patients with certain afflictions. I have personally witnessed what could be considered a miraculous outcome for a young girl once stuck in a wheelchair but now walking around easily. The beneficial elements of marijuana can be extracted and prescribed to provide the benefits; however, I do not want to enable people to freely grow their own marijuana for personal smoking and recreational use. I have seen the devastation tobacco and alcohol do, and we do not need to make people believe there is nothing wrong with marijuana by legalizing it, which is the long-term purpose of many supporting proposition 2.

    • iceplant October 24, 2018 at 8:01 am

      You almost had me until that last little bit about growing your own for personal use. Which IS NOT the long-term purpose of many supporting Prop 2. That’s your interpretation of the proposition and fiction based. Try harder.

      • tazzman October 24, 2018 at 3:23 pm

        Actually ice, people who don’t live in close proximity to a dispensary are likely to grow their own. That was a byproduct of Colorado’s legalization.

        • iceplant October 24, 2018 at 4:26 pm

          If you don’t live close to a dispensary, yes. There’s nothing wrong with that.
          But jpff is making it sound as if the long-term goal here is complete and total legalization for anyone, anywhere. Including growing your own anywhere and that’s simply not the case.

          • KR567 October 24, 2018 at 8:27 pm

            peaplant you could always take that argument up with your new Supreme Court Justice.. Brett Kavanaugh

  • Carpe Diem October 24, 2018 at 7:24 am

    HA HA! Bravo! Yes, let the legislature sample it. Take one for the team! Why the H do you think you were hired by the people! Stick your neck out now and find the truth before the people mow you down with their own laws.

  • sheepobserver October 24, 2018 at 7:33 am

    This guy is on to something here. Imagine if we mandated that once a week legislators sit down for a “pow wow” sort of activity where they “smoke out”, and personally socialize with one another.
    I’d almost guarantee peace, love, and ground breaking bipartisanship would be the end result.

  • iceplant October 24, 2018 at 7:35 am

    Well well, one of the good ol’ boys decided to step into the 21st century.
    I applaud him for at least taking a step. Even if it is a baby step. But a gummy bear sounds like a quantum leap in this case. 😉
    The rest of the gang ought to start paying attention. Although getting them to “at least try” cannabis is a rather tall order. Especially when you consider this stat:
    “Among Latter-day Saints, support fell from around 54 percent in June to 28 percent in October”

    That’s just depressing. Come on, Utah. Does the church really make every single decision for you? WAKE. UP.

  • chris keele October 24, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Is anyone surprised by these antics from Jim Debakis, this is just another prime example why I am glad that I see things completely opposite as the liberal progressive left sees things, If only we could all just set around and get stoned enough so we could all see things their way, wouldn’t that be just great? I know our enemies would like to have this Country all baked and helpless.

    • Chris October 24, 2018 at 11:31 am

      So, you believe in the “nanny state” where government decides the minute details of our personal lives, like what we put into our bodies or what we do behind closed doors? That kind of government activism is at the heart of socialism.

    • iceplant October 24, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Oh, the ignorance. What’s wrong, Chris? That “funny reefer man” got you all scared?
      Ever tried it? Or are you forming your opinion based on hearsay and speculation from the pulpit? Reefer Madness?

      Not all who use cannabis are stoned. Not everyone is in this game to simply “get high”. Really? You need to understand things like tolerance as well. And how people treat it carefully. To be perfectly blunt, the “high” associated with cannabis use is a side effect worth enduring to alleviate chronic pain and nerve damage. There are thousands of other things that it’s good for as well. Do some research and educate yourself. And I mean REAL research. Not that crap your buddies at the ward party are telling you to read. Never mind that some of us know high ranking religious types who use it regularly. And I mean daily and often. They walk amongst you and they are everywhere.

  • Brian October 24, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    This was a political stunt done solely for the optics and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  • chris keele October 24, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    No the only ignorant statements belong to you on every single thing you post about, it does not matter the subject, and I have been around and heavily influenced by people that have used the weed for longer than you have been alive, so don’t pretend to lecture me on it, you know zero about what your talking as usual.

    • Redbud October 24, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      Chris Keeler, I completely agree with you, everything iceplant posts is pure gibberish. He’s one of those people who pretends to be an expert on all things. His foolish statements prove otherwise. The only thing Dabakis accomplished was proving to everyone why no one should vote for the democratic party. Very stupid, childish behavior. Oooooooo loooooookie at meeeeeee! I ate a GUMMY BEAR, look how special I am now!

      • iceplant October 24, 2018 at 4:36 pm

        Neither of you has a clue what I’ve gone through or experienced in life.
        I spent almost 10 miserable years addicted to opiates and cannabis saved my life. Cannabis continues to heal and help me endure a pain that I would wish on no one. Not even on ignorant fools who’ve never given cannabis a fair shake. Don’t waste my time.

        You two go ahead and try to keep crapping on people like me while we get through life KNOWING that we saved ourselves by giving up painkillers for a healthier alternative. I fail to find anything of value in either of your comments which is par for the course. What you don’t know might not hurt you. But what you put down through your own ignorance certainly will. But, hey… whatever you have to do to convince yourself you have a clue.

        Without knowledge of your own, you’re not qualified to tell me otherwise. Stay clueless mi amigos.

  • Carpe Diem October 24, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    This guy eats a gummy bear and people fear there will be forests of weed growing. About 10 years ago there were actually quite a few plots found and destroyed, and it seems they gave up. But to anyone paying attention, Utah is surrounded with legal weed. A fair amount not legal traveling through too. Nothing much has changed. No disasters. No spike in weed-related overdoses. Not one overdose.

  • KR567 October 24, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Woooooohooooooo..party time ! got munchies ?

  • utahdiablo October 24, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Try to actually use it first Senator by smoking a joint….then go for a joy ride in your car…that’s the issue here, not to have folks getting stoned and driving

    • Canaanite October 26, 2018 at 11:45 pm

      No driving, smoke a joint while hiking…

  • youcandoit October 24, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Then you get a drug related DUI

  • jaltair October 24, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    People are going to continue to do as they wish, whether it’s drinking or use of pot.  My feeling is that as long as dispensing of MJ is regulated as it is with alcohol and as it is in states surrounding Utah, using cannabis is no more evil than using alcohol.  Stats show less  encounters with the police for those on marijuana than those on alcohol.

    From previously smoking weed, some 30 plus years back, my concern would be more about the weed being polluted with a hallucinogenic.  If you purchase from a distribution site like “New Leaf”, there is much less of a risk.  “Bad” weed is what we called it.  With legalization and regulation, getting a bad batch is nearly nil if you buy from a store.

    I am for legalization of marijuana, period.  Let people buy legal and medical marijuana.  Let those addicted to really bad substances come off using marajuana.  Let adult people come home from a work week and use it to feel better.  In my mind and from my experience . . . There is too much hoopla around the topic of how potruins lives and is the first step to hard drugs.

    My life is good, I am a Christian, I am a mother and grandma, and I used marijuana 30 plus some years back.  I also have lupus and fibromyalgia and would love to be able to have a gummy for my pain.  I use CBD oil now with fair results, but I know MJ would kick that pain! 

    • Canaanite October 26, 2018 at 11:51 pm

      Jaltar, hallucinogenic pot got breed out of existence by the late seventies, nobody is going to spike current weed with hallucinogens since heat burns the compounds away.

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