Former Vice President and Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden has picked Senator Kamala Harris of California as his running mate. She has a mixed record on cannabis.
Initially, she ran as a “tough on crime” candidate but has gradually come to accept and advocate for cannabis legalization.
Kamala Harris is the lead Senate sponsor of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act. Since the bill’s introduction last year, NORML has been leading lobbying efforts in support of the MORE Act, which seeks to end the federal prohibition. It provides incentives for states to expunge the records of those with cannabis-related convictions.
“It is time for the Democratic Party to adopt the marijuana policy reform platform that is currently articulated by Senator Harris’s MORE Act,” said NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal.
No Senate committee has yet to take up a bill to address cannabis reform in the 116th Congress. It is controlled by prohibitionist Republicans, unlike the Democratic-controlled House, which passed the SAFE Act last year. Many believe will the House will pass the MORE Act in September.
Kamala Harris and Cannabis
Harris said she smoked in college while listening to Snoop Dogg and Tupac, but then the music was not released by the time she would have been in college earning a Bachelor’s degree.
“Half my family is from Jamaica; are you kidding me?” Harris said. “And I did inhale.”
Bill Clinton infamously said he did not inhale cannabis in 1992 when he first ran for President. Christopher Hitchens, who attended college with Clinton, said they ate pot brownies together. His half denial is partially why Clinton earned the infamous moniker “Slick Willy.”
Many disliked Harris’s tenure as San Francisco District Attorney (DA), especially in the light of the Gorge Floyd/Black Lives Matter mass protests. She did indeed prosecute many for cannabis possession.
Following being San Francisco DA, Kamala Harris was the Attorney General of California. She was elected in the Senate in 2016.
She ran for President this cycle on a pro-cannabis platform but dropped out when it seemed she could not win her home state of California against Bernie Sanders.
While California and her hometown of San Francisco launched the legalization movement, she did not take a position in favor of it till 2018.
A lot of politicians change their positions on hot button issues like gay marriage, once being in support is politically popular. For example, LBJ pushed through civil rights legislation in the 1960s as president. But his first speech in the Senate in 1949 was in favor of segregation because he found it politically expedient. As long as Kamala Harris recognizes that cannabis is an idea whose time has come, there could be worse nominees.