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Kamala Harris Backs Marijuana Legalization: ‘We Need More Joy’

Senator Kamala Harris (D, Calif.) during the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., February 5, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Senator Kamala Harris followed the lead of several other Democratic presidential candidates on Monday in announcing her support for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

“Half my family’s from Jamaica,” the California Democrat replied when asked about the issue in an appearance on the New York radio show The Breakfast Club“Are you kidding me?”

“Listen, I think it gives a lot of people joy. And we need more joy,” Harris said when asked whether she would repeat her college experience of smoking a joint should the drug be legalized federally for recreational use.

“I did inhale,” she laughed. “It was a long time ago, but yes. I just broke news!”

The senator added, however, that she supports regulations on use of the drug while driving as well as more “research [into] the impact of weed on a developing brain.”

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, another high-profile Democrat vying for the party’s presidential nomination, brought the issue up early on and pushed for federal legalization. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is also seeking the nomination, supported Booker’s proposals to loosen restrictions on the drug and said last year that, “the federal government needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana.” Senator Amy Klobuchar, who announced her presidential campaign on Sunday, signed onto a bill Warren herself sponsored that sought to protect states where marijuana is legal from federal intervention.

A majority of Americans, 62 percent, support legalizing marijuana, according to a Pew Research Center poll last fall.

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