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High Times 

A Utah senator tried marijuana, but what was the message? A win for Utahns' health and an unfortunate consequence of Medicare.

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High Times
Thanks, Sen. Jim Dabakis, but you really didn't help. Dabakis, the "fun" senator, the gay Democrat who gets even the rightest-wing Republicans to like him, decided to give marijuana a try. Dabakis traveled to Las Vegas, where pot is legal, and decided to become the first Utah senator (whom we know of) to try marijuana. He chose gummies and just "felt a little high." But, hey, this is not the issue on the ballot. Utahns are considering Proposition 2 to legalize medical marijuana, and opponents have been stretching the effort into fear of recreational pot. They even had a pot-shop van roll up near schools to frighten parents into believing weed would be widely available. So it might have been great fun, but the good senator now has the nation thinking that Utah is voting on recreational weed.


A Nuclear Waste
Just when you thought there was no hope, Utah bureaucrats came through. The Department of Environmental Quality unanimously denied EnergySolutions' bid to fast-track bringing depleted uranium into the state. Depleted uranium, they noted, "is chemically unstable, relatively mobile and pyrophoric, or able to ignite spontaneously," according to a KSL Channel 5 report. It's waste that comes from nuclear fuel and weapons, and that means we'll all be dead and gone by the time it actually depletes. ES didn't want to wait for those pesky performance assessments to be completed. And eventually, they will be. The company might lose a contract or two in the meantime, but they will still be fighting to bring more nuclear waste into the state next year. Environmental groups like Heal Utah and the Sierra Club will be on the other side—the side of public health.


Farcical Care
Before we talk about what a farce this all is, can we all agree that health care is a complicated and emotional issue? Not so for "the president," who likes to rally the troops with diatribes about "socialist health care." It doesn't matter that it's not true, but let's focus on drug costs. Yeah, they're high. If you want to talk about that socialistic Medicare, well, drug prices are high because the feds aren't allowed to negotiate for lower prices. Now, we have Utah insurer PEHP that covers 160,000 public employees and their families, "offering plane tickets to San Diego, transportation to Tijuana, and a $500 cash payout to patients who need certain expensive drugs for multiple sclerosis, cancer and autoimmune disorders," according to a Salt Lake Tribune report. If you have to ask why, then you're not paying attention.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

More by Katharine Biele

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