Kamala Harris admits she smoked marijuana in college even though she opposed its legalization until last year

Business Insider | Feb 12, 2019, 12.22AM IST

Sen. Kamala Harris

Christopher Victorio/AP Images

Sen. Kamala Harris

  • Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democratic presidential candidate, admitted she smoked marijuana in college and that the drug "gives a lot of people joy" during a Monday radio interview.
  • When Harris ran for reelection as California's attorney general in 2014, she laughed off a reporter's question about whether she supported the legalization of marijuana, even though her Republican opponent supported legalization. 
  • California officially legalized recreational marijuana use last year and Harris co-sponsored a Senate bill to end the federal prohibition on the drug. 

Sen. Kamala Harris admitted she smoked marijuana in college and said the drug "gives a lot of people joy," despite remaining mum on legalizing weed until last year.

When was asked on The Breakfast Club radio show Monday morning whether she had ever smoked weed, Harris joked, "Half my family's from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?" 

She added that she smoked a joint in college, "And I did inhale," she said, laughing. "I just broke news."

Harris added that the drug, which the majority of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates support legalizing, "gives a lot of people joy."

"And we need more joy in the world," she added. 

But Harris, California's former attorney general, didn't support legalizing marijuana until last year - after her home state legalized its recreational use. (Medical marijuana has been legal in California for over two decades and 57% of the state's voters approved recreational legalization in a November 2016 ballot initiative.) 

During Harris' 2014 attorney general reelection race, she laughed off a reporter's question about whether she supported the legalization of marijuana (Harris' Republican opponent supported legalization). 

Last May, Harris reversed course, co-sponsoring the Marijuana Justice Act, which would end the federal prohibition on marijuana.

"Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do and it's the right thing to do," she tweeted then. 

"The fact is that marijuana laws are not applied and enforced in the same way for all people," Harris said in a NowThis video, adding that white black and white Americans use marijuana at roughly the same rates, black people are four times more likely to be arrested for possessing the drug.  

She went on. "The War on Drugs was a war on communities." 


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