Sen. Kamala Harris, a former California attorney general, said Monday she has smoked marijuana and supports the legalization of the drug.
In the interview, given to the New York-based radio show “The Breakfast Club,” co-host Charlamagne Tha God asks Harris if she has ever smoked.
“I have. And I inhaled – I did inhale. It was a long time ago. But, yes,” the California Democrat replies, invoking former President Bill Clinton’s famous “didn’t inhale” remark he made during his 1992 presidential run.
Harris, laughing as she realized the attention that her admission might draw, said that she tried pot in college and noted that it was in the form of a joint.
“I just broke news,” she said.
The 2020 presidential contender dodged Charlamagne Tha God’s question about whether or not she would try it again if it were legalized “all throughout the country,” but said that she thinks “that it gives a lot of people joy and we need more joy.”
As for marijuana legalization, Harris told Charlamagne Tha God that she supports it.
“They say you oppose legalizing weed,” he said.
“That’s not true. And look I joke about it, half joking – half my family’s from Jamaica, are you kidding me,” Harris replies, laughing.
“No, I do not – no, no. I have had concerns, the full record, I have had concerns, which I think – first of all, let me just make this statement very clear, I believe we need to legalize marijuana,” she said. “Now, that being said – and this is not a ‘but,’ it is an ‘and’ – and we need to research, which is one of the reasons we need to legalize it. We need to move it on the schedule so that we can research the impact of weed on a developing brain. You know, that part of the brain that develops judgment, actually begins its growth at age 18 through age 24.”
“But I am absolutely in favor of legalizing marijuana. We’ve got to do it,” she said later in the interview. “We have incarcerated so many, and particularly young men and young men of color, in a way that we have not for the same level of use (among) other young men.”
Harris’ stance, which aligns herself with a growing movement in the Democratic Party and even among some Republicans, appears to be at odds with where she stood in 2014 when she was running for re-election as California attorney general.
In an interview with KCRA-TV in August 2014, Harris is asked to respond to her opponent’s stance on the issue.
“Your opponent, Ron Gold, has said that he is for the legislation of marijuana recreationally. Your thoughts on that?” the station asks her.
“Um, I – that he is entitled to his opinion,” Harris replied.
CNN’s Justin Peligri and Maeve Reston contributed to this report.