Kamala Harris Weighs In With Her Views Towards Marijuana
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced on Monday that she supports the effort to legalize marijuana at the federal level.
In an interview with The Breakfast Club, a New York City radio show, Harris was asked to respond to rumors that as attorney general of California, she tried to block the legalization of weed in her state.
“That’s not true. Half my family’s from Jamaica,” Harris quipped. “Are you kidding me?” Harris confessed that she once smoked a joint in college. “And I inhaled,” she joked.
Harris was also asked if she would smoke pot if it were legalized.
“Listen, I think it gives a lot of people joy,” Harris said of pot. “And we need more joy.”
Harris joins 2020 presidential hopeful Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), who in 2017 introduced legislation to end the decades-long ban on the medicinal plant, in the push to end the federal marijuana ban.
Support for legalization has grown substantially in recent years. Polling last fall showed that 62 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing adults to smoke weed.
Harris explained that legalizing marijuana would be a big step forward in reforming the criminal justice system, which disproportionately incarcerates black Americans for petty, non-violent marijuana offenses. Harris believes the issue relates to the idea of reparations.
“We have got to recognize, back to that earlier point, people aren’t starting out on the same base in terms of their ability to succeed,” Harris said. “So we have got to recognize that and give people a lift up.”
Harris also responded to claims that President Barack Obama did not do enough to help black Americans.
“None of us can do enough. And we all know that,” Harris said. “If you are a parent raising a child, you know we can never do enough. As leaders, we can never do enough. It’s important to acknowledge that. But let’s also give people credit for what they have accomplished.”
Currently, marijuana is classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a schedule I drug (meaning a high potential for abuse, addiction, and no known medical use), indicating that the government does not recognize its medicinal and therapeutic potential.
Despite the federal ban, however, marijuana is legal for recreational use in 10 states and the District of Columbia. Thirty-three states have legalized pot for medical use.