Did Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) smoke marijuana in college, or while she was arresting people for minor drug offenses?
That was the question circulating social media Monday evening, after Harris said she smoked a “joint” in college during an interview with the radio show, “The Breakfast Club.” Co-host “Charlemagne tha God” asked Harris if she had ever smoked marijuana, to which the California senator replied: “I have.”
"And I did inhale. I did inhale! It was a long time ago, but yes. I just broke loose," Harris added. She then claimed she smoke a “joint” while in college and remembered being high.
"I think [marijuana] gives a lot of people joy," Harris said. "And we need more joy in the world."
When asked what music she listened to when she smoked, Harris said, “Oh yeah, definitely Snoop. Tupac for sure.”
Except, Harris graduated from Howard University in 1986, and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1989. Tupac released his first album, “2Pacalypse Now,” on November 12, 1991 — two years after Harris graduated from law school. Snoop Dogg released his first album, “Doggystyle,” on November 23, 1993 — four years after Harris graduated law school.
By the time Tupac and Snoop began releasing albums, Harris was already working as a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, CA. She started that job in 1990 and left in 1998.
So, either Harris lied about who she listened to while smoking (or, more charitably, doesn’t remember who she listened to and named the first artists she thought of), or she actually had her one “joint” while she worked as a deputy district attorney putting people away for smoking marijuana.
In her book, “The Truths We Hold,” Harris talks about her newfound support for decriminalizing marijuana.
“We need to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from the records of millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives," Harris wrote.
Harris hasn’t always supported marijuana legalization. As CNN details, as recently as 2010, when Harris was San Francisco’s district attorney, she opposed legislation that would legalized marijuana in the Golden State. Her then-campaign manager, Brian Brokaw, told Capitol Weekly that Harris “believes that drug selling harms communities,” but did support the use of medical marijuana.
She continued this belief through 2015, when she spoke at the Democratic State Convention.
Earlier in her career, she worked to put nonviolent marijuana users behind bars, according to Reason’s Ed Krayewski.
“As San Francisco D.A. she opposed a measure to legalize marijuana, and when she ran for attorney general she argued that legalization would encourage people to work and drive while high. As attorney general, she called for an expansion of the state's efforts to track prescription drug users. She also opposed cuts to drug enforcement programs that often targeted drug dealers for nonviolent offenses,” Krayewski wrote.
CNN doesn’t look further back than 2010, but dismisses Harris’ change in the politest terms possible.
“Perhaps it's a story of gradual realization of the need for legalization, or maybe it's just a story of one politician adapting to public opinion,” CNN reported.
Harris’ office did not respond to a press inquiry prior to publication.