Not only is Kamala Harris hopeful to become the next president, but she is hoping to use marijuana legalization as part of her platform to get there. Harris has announced her candidacy for president in 2020, and she has also announced she has personally smoked marijuana.
During a press conference on Feb. 11, Harris explained she smoked pot in college and noted she did, in fact, inhale during the experience. Harris does strongly believe in the need for research on the effects of marijuana on a brain that is developing, but she also notes that her family is largely from Jamaica so opposition is not a logical stance for her.
Harris may support legalization now, but that has not always been the case. Starting in 2010, Harris was a voice opposing marijuana legalization. In 2014, as the attorney general for California, Harris found support of recreational marijuana legalization laughable — or at least that was her reaction when questioned on the support a political opponent showed for the idea.
However, in 2015 that stance had already changed. Harris supported the idea of marijuana for medical treatments at that time, calling for an end to the federal ban on marijuana for medical treatments.
Her current stance regarding recreational use is that it should be legalized, per her book that was released in January. She notes that regulation is necessary, and she also supports a move to expunge records for those who were found guilty for nonviolent crimes related to marijuana possession.
The presidential candidate has also announced support for New Jersey Senator Cory Booker’s bill to end federal prohibition of marijuana, effectively countering moves by Booker to gain any traction in the presidential race. He is a potential candidate that would oppose Harris for the Democratic presidential nomination.
When it comes to the opposition, Harris has made moves to reach them as well. Harris also noted her support for development of a device, similar to a breathalyzer, that will test inhibition related to marijuana use. This support is a statement for those who are holding out against legalization, particularly law enforcement officials who feel public safety will be compromised due to impaired drivers using marijuana and a lack of effective testing to determine such impairment.