Utah Lawmaker Tries Pot For First Time On Facebook Live

By Kelly Burch 10/26/18

“I decided it was about time that at least one legislator knew a little bit about marijuana before we changed all the laws,” said the state senator.

Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis
Utah State Senator Jim Dabakis

A Utah state senator decided to do some hands-on research before voting on the state’s marijuana policy in the upcoming November election. 

Jim Dabakis, a Democrat, took to Facebook Live to stream himself trying marijuana for the first time. He ate an edible gummy bear in Las Vegas, where recreational weed is legal. 

“I decided it was about time that at least one legislator knew a little bit about marijuana before we changed all the laws,” Dabakis said in the video. “I don’t think there’s a senator that’s used marijuana. I think maybe nobody has ever smoked marijuana and we’re going to make the laws.”

Dabakis said “with great sacrifice” he went to Vegas on his own accord to give pot a try. However, he doesn’t like smoke, so he opted for an edible instead. 

"I wouldn't recommend it as a sheer candy because it's a little bit bitter," he said. 

After trying the candy, Dabakis said that the experience wasn’t remarkable. "It was no big deal," Dabakis told USA Today. "It was fine. I just felt a little high.”

In a follow-up video, Dabakis called on everyone in Utah to just “mellow out” about marijuana. “The people who are terrified by it seem to be the people who have never tried it,” he said. 

In fact, he recommends that all his colleagues takes a moment to familiarize themselves with the issue at hand. "I think the reefer madness crowd—you guys, you need to try it. It's not that big a deal,” he said in the video. 

He reinforced that stance when speaking with USA Today. "I want all my colleagues to get amnesty and go get a gummy bear or smoke a marijuana cigarette," he said. "I think everybody is afraid of what they don't know about.”

Utah voters will consider legalizing a medical marijuana program in November. The issue has been fiercely debated in the state, where a heavy Mormon influence has resulted in some of the strictest alcohol laws in the nation. But the governor of Utah is optimistic. 

“The good news here is that whether [Prop 2] passes or fails, we’re going to arrive at the same point,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told The Salt Lake Tribune

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.