The California senator discusses her stance on prohibition, de-scheduling and the need for the war on drugs to be dismantled in her new book.
More and more democratic politicians are getting on board with marijuana legalization, according to Forbes.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is one of them, as she discusses the topic in her new book, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey.
“Something else it’s past time we get done is dismantling the failed war on drugs—starting with legalizing marijuana,” Harris writes in the book.
“We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it,” she adds. “And we need to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from the records of millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives.”
Though she is for marijuana legalization, Harris says that legalization should be done with caution. Because of the Schedule I status of the drug, she states, there has not been enough research on the effects. She also states that some solution needs to be put in place when it comes to driving under the influence of marijuana.
Harris also touches on other drugs as a whole, writing, “”We also need to stop treating drug addiction like a public safety crisis instead of what it is: a public health crisis.”
“When someone is suffering from addiction, their situation is made worse, not better, by involvement in the criminal justice system,” she adds.
Despite her support now, Harris has not always been supportive of marijuana legalization. According to Forbes, Harris laughed during a 2014 interview when a journalist raised a question about legalization.
Two years later, in 2016, she also refused to support California’s cannabis legalization ballot measure.
However, with a possible presidential run on the horizon, Harris has gotten behind legalization. In May 2018, according to Forbes, Harris agreed to co-sponsor a bill that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act as well as withhold federal funding from states with “discriminatory cannabis enforcement.”
“Right now in this country people are being arrested, being prosecuted, and end up spending time in jail or prison all because of their use of a drug that otherwise should be considered legal,” she said at that point.
According to The Washington Examiner, at that time she also added that race plays a role when it comes to consequences of marijuana use.
“It’s the smart thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. And I know this as a former prosecutor. I know it as a senator,” Harris said. “The fact is marijuana laws are not applied and enforced the same way for all people. African-Americans use marijuana at roughly the same rate as whites, but are approximately four times more likely to be arrested for possession. That’s just not fair.”