Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris's new embrace of smoking marijuana didn't go well back in Jamaica, where her father said her ancestors would be "turning in their grave" after hearing her stereotype the island's people as "pot-smoking joy seekers."
Harris cited her Jamaican heritage last week when she admitted to smoking marijuana. The California senator scoffed at claims that she opposes legalizing the drug by saying, "Half my family is from Jamaica, are you kidding me?" She said she supports legalization because smoking "gives a lot of people joy, and we need more joy."
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Her father Donald Harris, who came to the United States from Jamaica in pursuit of a graduate degree in economics, took issue with his daughter's use of the drug stereotype as she runs for president.
"My dear departed grandmothers, as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics," he said in a statement to Jamaica Global that gained attention in the United States over the weekend.
"Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty," he said.
Harris has taken heat stateside for her new stance on legalized marijuana, which she openly opposed as California's attorney general, when she locked up over 1,500 individuals for marijuana-related crimes. She has been accused of lying about the timing of her marijuana use, which she says she only tried in college.