Don’t knock it until you try it. Utah state senator Jim Dabakis challenged his fellow politicians with that attitude as the state prepares to vote on legalizing medicinal marijuana in the coming weeks. To put his money where his mouth is, Dabakis traveled to Nevada, where marijuana is recreationally legal, to film himself trying marijuana.
According to local news station KUTV, Dabakis is known for his political publicity stunts. The senator supports Prop 2, which would legalize medicinal marijuana in Utah, and wants his fellow legislators to know it’s “not a big deal.”
In a Facebook Live video posted over the weekend, Dabakis pops a gummy edible, noting his “sacrifice for you, the taxpayers.”
“I wouldn’t recommend it as a sheer candy because it’s a little bit bitter,” he says while chewing. Dabakis also assures viewers his stunt is a responsible one—he already has a driver secured and plans to lay by the pool while the edible kicks in.
“It dawned on me Wednesday on the floor of the Senate that the Legislature is going to have the final say on this medical marijuana,” Dabakis told KUTV, explaining why he went through with the stunt. “I thought, ‘Maybe nobody on this floor has ever tried marijuana.’”
“I think if the legislature would actually try it they would find it and realize this is no big deal, and at least let those who are suffering have the help that they need,” he added.
Regardless of the vote next month medical marijuana appears assured in Utah, thanks to a deal struck between leaders of the Mormon Church, marijuana advocates, and Gov. Gary Herbert. Dabakis is correct, though, about legislators having the final say. Whether the medical marijuana program is more restrictive or accessible will be determined by state legislators after the fact.
And in a followup Facebook video, Dabakis told his colleagues to “mellow out” on cannabis.
“I think the reefer madness crowd—you guys, you need to try it. It’s not that big a deal.”