In the world of progressive politics, it is not surprising to discover that an elected official has flip-flopped on a major issue.
Nevertheless, Vice President Kamala Harris has been called out by critics in recent days amid evidence that suggests she shifted her stance on marijuana primarily for partisan reasons.
“The answer appears to be no”
Writer Kyle Jaeger raised the issue in a recent article for Marijuana Moment, asking whether the former California senator still supports the legalization of weed.
“According to a short passage buried in a new Bloomberg report about efforts to appoint a new White House drug policy official, the answer seems to be no,” he went on to write.
The Bloomberg piece is focused on attempts by pro-marijuana lobbyists to oppose the nomination of Patrick J. Kennedy as the Biden administration’s drug czar.
Kennedy, a former Democratic congressman from Rhode Island, is a recovering drug addict who supports the use of medical marijuana but opposes its full-scale legalization.
As Bloomberg reported, Harris was the sponsor of legislation backed by the marijuana industry during her time as a senator. Biden, on the other hand, wants to maintain federal laws preventing it from being sold recreationally.
“Rather than legalize the plant”
A Harris aide cited in the piece who requested anonymity “because the vice president has not publicly weighed in on the issue,” insisted that she and the president now share the same, more moderate, view on the issue.
Jaeger described Biden’s approach as one of federally rescheduling cannabis to allow for medical use while allowing individual states to make the call regarding further legislation.
The write also suggested that comments from the unidentified aide could be interpreted to mean that Biden had changed his views to more align with Harris, though he saw little evidence for such a conclusion.
He wrote that “the vice president’s rhetoric on the issue has shifted,” noting her arguably paltry nod toward “decriminalizing” marijuana — along with erasing related criminal convictions — “rather than legalize the plant.”
Of course, this is not the first time that Harris has faced skepticism regarding her stance on marijuana. During one 2019 Democratic presidential primary debate, former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) went after the then-senator for joking about her own prior marijuana use despite having led the prosecution of drug offenders during her time as California’s attorney general.