Booker Hits Harris for 'Bragging About Pot Use' As Many Still Getting Arrested for It

March 18, 2019

Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) took a shot Monday night at his colleague Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) for "bragging about pot use" while many in the country are still having their lives impacted by marijuana charges.

Booker's comments on his Democratic primary opponent came during an interview with MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who was asking him about presidential pardons. Booker used the opportunity to discuss the many people being "punished unjustly" for marijuana possession and to take his shot at Harris.

"We have presidential candidates, senators bragging about their pot use while there are kids who can't get a job for doing things that two of the last three presidents did," Booker said.

The remark appeared to be in reference to Harris, who said with laughter during an interview on the radio show "The Breakfast Club" that she smoked marijuana when she was a college student at Howard University.

"Half my family is from Jamaica, are you kidding me?" she joked after being asked whether she was for legalizing the drug. She went on to say, with more laughter, the she thinks marijuana "gives a lot of people joy, and we need more joy."

Booker wants the issue taken more seriously, he said.

"There were more marijuana possession arrests in 2017 than all the violent crime arrests combined," Booker said. "And you know who doesn't get arrested for smoking marijuana? The people on Yale's campus."

"The privileged can break laws and not have to worry about it. There's no difference between blacks and whites for using marijuana, or even selling marijuana, but blacks are almost four times more likely to be convicted."

The Washington Free Beacon reported last month that at least 1,560 people were sent to California state prisons for marijuana-related crimes while Harris was the state's attorney general.

Booker is not the first to criticize Harris for her comments regarding drug use. Her own father said his "ancestors" would be "turning in their grave" hearing her stereotype Jamaicans as "pot-smoking joy seekers."

Booker made similar comments during a weekend stop in Iowa that were picked up by Marijuana Moment. The pro-legalization website points out Harris also joked about smoking a "joint" during a January appearance on a late-night talk show.