Wild animals could “cultivate a taste” for marijuana if Utah lawmakers permit medical use of the plant, according to testimony by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
Agent Matt Fairbanks, a member of the state’s “marijuana eradication” team, warned Thursday that wildlife would be constantly stoned and lose their fear of humans if the medical marijuana bill passed, reported the Washington Post.
“I deal in facts,” Fairbanks said. “I deal in science.”
He explained that he had seen the harmful environmental impact, including deforestation and erosion, from large-scale growth operations in the state.
“The ramifications to the flora, the animal life, the contaminated water, are still unknown,” Fairbanks told lawmakers.
He testified that he had encountered rabbits that had developed a taste for eating marijuana, and he said the results disturbed him.
“One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone,” Fairbanks said.
He urged lawmakers to put the brakes on the proposed legislation to conduct additional study, but a Senate committee approved the measure by a 3-2 vote after Fairbanks testified.
The full Senate will then vote on the bill, which would allow businesses to grow marijuana and sell pot-infused products such as baked goods and candies.
The measure would still prohibit marijuana smoking.
Hear testimony by Fairbanks below: