Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said in a new interview that she supports the legalization of marijuana — admitting that she has used it herself, and unlike Bill Clinton, she inhaled.
“I did inhale,” Harris said, laughing, during a discussion posted Monday by “The Breakfast Club” program on New York’s 105.1 FM. “It was a long time ago, but yes. I just broke news! Listen, I think [it] gives a lot of people joy,” she added. “And we need more joy. ”
Harris, a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, looked to dispel a rumor raised by co-host Charlamagne tha God that the former district attorney does not support legalization.
“Half my family’s from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” she said. “I believe we need to legalize marijuana, and we need to research the impact of weed on a developing brain.”
Her support for legalizing weed is in line with the position of a majority of the country.
A recent poll from the Pew Research Center found that 62 percent of Americans think that marijuana use should be legalized — reflecting an overall upward trend in recent decades.
Yet when it comes to legalization, Harris hasn’t always been a vocal supporter.
While running for reelection as California’s attorney general in 2014, Harris laughed when she was asked if she supported legalization, a position taken by her Republican opponent, Ron Gold. “He’s entitled to his opinion,” Harris said, effectively dodging the question. (In 2016, California voters approved a bill legalizing adult recreational use.)
But her record as a senator is a bit more weed friendly. Last year, Harris added her name to a bill, introduced by Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., that would remove cannabis from the list of federally banned substances.
“Right now in this country people are being arrested, being prosecuted, and end up spending time in jail or prison all because of their use of a drug that otherwise should be considered legal,” she said in a press release. “Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. I know this as a former prosecutor and I know it as a senator.” (A similar statement earned her praise — and an A- rating — from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.)
And last month, Harris raised the issue with William Barr, the nominee for U.S. attorney general.
Harris, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, needled Barr, who said he does not support the current approach by the federal government allowing states to determine their own cannabis laws, despite federal law prohibiting its recreational use.
She asked if Barr intends to use “the limited federal resources” at his disposal to enforce federal marijuana laws in the states that have repealed their own laws against it.
“No, I thought I answered that by saying, to the extent that people are complying with the state law’s distribution and production and so forth, we’re not going to go after that,” he said. “But I do feel we can’t stay in the current situation.”