Harris Supports Legalizing Marijuana, Admits to Using It in the Past

It 'gives a lot of people joy,' the 2020 hopeful said.

February 11, 2019

Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) said during a Monday interview on the "Breakfast Club" that she supports the legalization of marijuana, a drug she also admitted to using it in the past.

"They say you oppose legalizing weed," host Charlamagne tha God said, referring to critics of Harris.

"That is not true. I joke about it, but half my family is from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?" Harris said as the room erupted in laughter. "First of all, let me make this statement very clear. I believe we need to legalize Marijuana."

In 2018, Harris co-sponsored her colleague Sen. Cory Booker's (D., N.J.) bill to loosen restrictions on the drug, the Marijuana Justice Act. Booker's legislation would remove marijuana's status as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substance Act.

Although Harris supports legalization, she has a few concerns she would like to be addressed.

"And we need to research, which is one of the reasons why we need to legalize it. We need to move it on the schedule so we can research the impact of weed on a developing brain," Harris said. "That part of the brain that develops judgement, actually begins its growth at age 18 through 24. I believe we need to research that because we fully don't know the consequences."

The Washington Free Beacon previously reported that marijuana legalization at the state level has been shown to increase youth expose to the substance.

The number of children exposed to marijuana has risen significantly since the drug was legalized in Washington State, a new report from the Washington Poison Center shows.

The Poison Center, which is responsible for poison control and which catalogs self-reported instances of poisoning with marijuana products in the state of Washington, has seen a steady increase in reports since Washington State voted to legalize marijuana in 2012. 2017 saw the highest number yet: 378, more than double the number reported prior to legalization.

"The other issue we've got to address is how we are going to measure impairment when somebody has been smoking weed, in terms of driving. These are details that some people might not want to hear or talk about," Harris said. "This is my background. And this how I think about things."

Harris added that while she might have concerns about legalization, it "absolutely" needs to happen.

"Have you ever smoked?" Charlamagne asked.

"I have. And I inhaled," Harris responded. Her inhale comment was a reference to former President Bill Clinton saying he experimented with marijuana but didn't "inhale" it.

"It was a long time ago," Harris continued. "I just broke loose."

She confirmed it happened while she was at college and that it was a joint.

Charlamagne then asked if she would use marijuana if it became legal.

"Listen, I think it gives a lot of people joy, and we need more joy," Harris said while laughing.

A Gallup poll in October showed two-thirds of the country favor legalizing marijuana.