The father of Sen. Kamala Harris is accusing the Democratic presidential hopeful of playing “identity politics” and is trying to distance himself the California senator after she claimed her marijuana smoking in college stemmed from her Jamaican heritage.
Advocating for the legalization of marijuana on the federal level earlier this month, Harris claimed in an interview with the nationally syndicated radio show “The Breakfast Club” that she smoked pot in the past.
“I have. And I inhaled,” she said. “I did inhale.”
— The Breakfast Club (@breakfastclubam) February 11, 2019
When pressed on rumors that she opposes marijuana legalization, the senator doubled down on her how frequently lit up while listening to Tupac and Snoop dog during college.
“That’s not true,” she said, laughing. “Look, I joke about it, I have joked about it. Half my family is from Jamaica, are you kidding me?”
The senator’s father, Donald Harris, slammed his daughter for “fraudulently” promoting negative stereotypes to score political points.
“My dear departed grandmothers… as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics,” he told Jamaica Global Online.
“Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family,” he continued, “we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.”
While Harris seems determined to frame herself as a pro-marijuana candidate, as district attorney of San Francisco and as California attorney general, she cracked down on marijuana users.
In 2010, she opposed Proposition 19, which would have legalized recreational marijuana. Her campaign told local reporters at the time that drug selling is detrimental to communities.
While she was district attorney, she increased convictions of drug dealers from 56 percent to 74 percent within three years.
“Spending two decades in courtrooms, Harris believes that drug selling harms communities,” her campaign manager said. “Harris supports the legal use of medical marijuana but does not support anything beyond that.”
As California’s attorney general, she allowed the federal government to shut down legal medicinal dispensaries and refused to join other states’ efforts to remove marijuana from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of most dangerous substances. The marijuana lobby subsequently endorsed a pro-marijuana candidate during her re-election.