California Senator Kamala Harris yesterday again called for the legalization of marijuana and revealed that she has smoked the stuff herself.
Harris hasn’t always been a fan of making pot legal. It’s worth wondering whether her relatively newfound enthusiasm is a genuine change of heart or kowtowing to the progressive tastes of Democratic primary voters as she seeks the Party’s presidential nomination.
On the New York City-based Breakfast Club radio show Monday morning Harris was asked if she has ever smoked pot. The daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother she replied, “Are you kidding? Half my family is from Jamaica.”
Laughing the Senator said she smoked weed in college. “And I did inhale. It was a long time ago but yes I just broke news.”
Saying she inhaled was, of course, a wry reference to Bill Clinton famously declaring during his 1992 presidential campaign that he had smoked pot but didn’t inhale.
In the interview Harris also mirthfully asserted that weed “gives a lot of people joy” and “we need more joy.”
If she believes that, why did she oppose legalization for so long dating to her days as San Francisco DA in 2010?
In 2014, Harris laughed at a reporter who asked if she supported marijuana legalization. The recreational use of marijuana was legalized in California under a 2016 ballot initiative that took effect January 1, 2018.
In her much-circulated New York Times article, “Kamala Harris Was Not a Progressive Prosecutor,” law professor Lara Bazelon noted that Harris “finally reversed course in 2018, long after public opinion had shifted on the topic.”
In May 2018, Harris supported legislation proposed by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) that would make marijuana legal under federal law.
Harris tackles questions about her racial identity
On the same radio show Monday morning Harris was asked to respond to online carping that she is not really African-American because her parents immigrated from Jamaica and Indiana and she went to high school in Canada.
“So I was born in Oakland, and raised in the United States except for the years that I was in high school in Montreal, Canada,” Harris said as she laughed. “And look, this is the same thing they did to Barack [Obama]. This is not new to us and so I think that we know what they are trying to do.”
“They are trying to do what has been happening over the last two years, which is powerful voices trying to sow hate and division, and so we need to recognize when we’re being played,” Harris asserted.
People who question her blackness “don’t understand who black people are,” she said. “I’m not going to spend my time trying to educate people about who black people are. … I’m black and I’m proud.”
Harris also said during the interview that because “we have a history of racism” in America she favors some kind of reparations for slavery for black people.
The reference to reparations is interesting and newsworthy—the kind of thing that Donald Trump might seize upon to discredit her as a left-wing zealot. But on the journalistic sloth front, it was almost entirely missed by most major news outlets, including Huffington Post, the Hill and the San Francisco Chronicle, that covered her pot comments.
Perhaps because they didn’t bother to listen to the entire interview and just re-wrote each other’s stories.