Harris made the admission in a radio interview with “The Breakfast Club,” discussing her 2020 presidential bid.
“Half my family’s from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” Harris joked about her position on legalization.
When host Charlamagne that God questioned whether she had ever smoked marijuana, Harris admitted that she had. “And I did inhale,” she added.
“It was a long time ago,” Harris said through laughter. “But, yes.”
Former President Barack Obama made a similar admission during his 2008 presidential campaign, though he expressed regret and called it “a mistake as a young man.”
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— The Breakfast Club (@breakfastclubam) February 11, 2019
Harris explained that she smoked marijuana in college and Charlamagne praised the honesty and authenticity of her answer.
“Listen, I think that it gives a lot of people joy and we need more joy,” she added.
While Harris now favors legalization of marijuana, her past policy was far from that. During her 2014 re-election campaign as California’s attorney general, Harris laughed at the prospect of legalization in her state.
But public opinion on the issue has evolved to strong support for legalization. The Pew Research Center has found that support for legalization in 2017 hit a record 61 percent, with 70 percent of millennials and 66 percent of generation x supporting the policy.
The field of Democratic candidates seeking the presidency reflects that change in opinion. In addition to Harris supporting legalization, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) co-sponsored Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, a bill that would have eliminated marijuana’s Schedule IDEA classification and legalized the plant at the federal level. Senator Bernie Sanders, who has not yet entered the race but has been the subject of frequent speculation, was also a co-sponsor of the legislation.