Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) talked about her personal experience with smoking weed in college and seemingly backed the legalization of marijuana during a Monday morning radio interview on the New York City-based syndicated radio show, “The Breakfast Club.”
Harris told co-host “Charlemagne tha God” that she “broke loose” and smoked marijuana in college. “And I did inhale!” she enthusiastically added.
“That’s not true,” the senator told Charlemagne when he said people think she’s against marijuana legalization. “Half my family is from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?” joked Harris.
“Have you ever smoked?” asked the co-host.
“I have,” she answered. “And I did inhale. I did inhale! It was a long time ago, but yes. I just broke loose.”
Harris added that she smoked a “joint” in college and remembers the high.
“I think [marijuana] gives a lot of people joy,” the 2020 hopeful continued. “And we need more joy in the world.”
“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,” wrote Harris in her latest book, The Truths We Hold, according to The Daily Beast.
Harris’ remark about “inhaling” was a reference to then-presidential hopeful Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. “When I was in England,” Clinton said during a 1992 interview, “I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and I didn’t try it again.”
Former President Barack Obama similarly poked fun at Clinton’s I-didn’t-inhale comment. “When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently. That was the point,” joked Obama, then a U.S. Senator for Illinois.
The American people have been trending in favor of marijuana legalization. According to Pew Research published in October, 62% of Americans support legalization, divided most by generation and then party:
About six-in-ten Americans (62%) say the use of marijuana should be legalized, reflecting a steady increase over the past decade, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The share of U.S. adults who support marijuana legalization is little changed from about a year ago – when 61% favored it — but it is double what it was in 2000 (31%).
As in the past, there are wide generational and partisan differences in views of marijuana legalization. Majorities of Millennials (74%), Gen Xers (63%) and Baby Boomers (54%) say the use of marijuana should be legal. Members of the Silent Generation continue to be the least supportive of legalization (39%), but they have become more supportive in the past year.
Nearly seven-in-ten Democrats (69%) say marijuana use should be legal, as do 75% of independents who lean toward the Democratic Party.
Republicans are divided, with 45% in favor of legalizing marijuana and 51% opposed. Still, the share of Republicans saying marijuana should be legal has increased from 39% in 2015. Independents who lean toward the Republican Party are far more likely than Republicans to favor marijuana legalization (59% vs. 45%).
Harris, 54, announced her bid for 2020 last week on ABC’s Good Morning America. “I love my country, and this is a moment in time that I feel a sense of responsibility to fight for the best of who we are,” said Harris.
And the Democrat is polling rather well with those who are familiar with her: “A recent NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist Poll found that a majority of Americans — 54 percent — have not yet formed an opinion of Harris. But those who have a positive opinion of the California Democrat outnumbered those with a negative opinion by more than 3 to 1,” reported NPR.