U.S.

Kamala Harris Explains Support for Legalizing Marijuana: ‘I Think It Gives a Lot of People Joy and We Need More Joy’

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris detailed her support for legalizing marijuana at the federal level Monday, saying that “it gives a lot of people joy.”

Harris, the junior senator from California, is part of an ever-expanding field of Democratic contenders looking to topple President Donald Trump in next year’s presidential election. And she is also one of a growing number of Democrats who support making weed legal across all 50 states.

Appearing on the syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club, Harris was asked about reports that she actually opposed the legalization of marijuana.

“That’s not true. Look, I joke about it, I have joked about it. Half my family is from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?” she said, laughing.

Harris was then asked whether she had tried marijuana.

I have. And I inhaled. I did inhale,” she said. "It was a long time ago but yes. I just broke news." Harris then confirmed that she smoked weed in college and that “it was a joint.”

Asked whether she would smoke again, if it was legal, Harris said: “I think that it gives a lot of people joy and we need more joy.”

 

Harris’s comments follow those of fellow Democratic senator and 2020 candidate Cory Booker, who kicked off his campaign earlier this month by calling for legalizing marijuana as an essential part of criminal justice reform.

"We do not have equal justice under the law," he told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. "I believe in redemption."

Last year Booker introduced a bill to legalize marijuana at the federal level and gained support from other likely 2020 rivals, including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Bernie Sanders.

Marijuana is currently legal in 10 states, while 33 states have legalized the drug for medicinal use. Several more states are considering legalization in 2019. Polls have shown that calling for full legalization at the federal level is a winning issue with voters.

Sixty-two percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, according to an October 2018 Pew Research Center poll. That figure has doubled in the last two decades. What’s more, 69 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independents who lean Democratic also support the drug's legalization.

kamala harris, weed, marijuana, legal Senator Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who's running for president, participates in a Q&A with leaders from historically black colleges and universities during a Thurgood Marshall College Fund event at the JW Marriott on February 7, in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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