The Biden administration’s mass pardon for cannabis offenders has renewed attention on Harris’s record as a top California prosecutor before her election to the Senate in 2018.
Support for legalization has grown
over the years and is especially popular among younger adults. Critics say Harris was slow to adopt the position. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Democrats hammered California’s former top cop for her record of cannabis prosecutions.
On a debate stage
in Detroit, Tulsi Gabbard, then a Hawaii representative and rival for the Democratic nomination, said Harris had the power to enact change but didn’t.
“She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said, telling Harris that those who “suffered under [her] reign” deserved an apology. “The bottom line is when you were in a position to make a difference and an impact in these people’s lives, you did not.”
Gabbard recently accused
Harris of “hypocrisy” amid efforts to bring WNBA player Brittney Griner
back to the United States from Russia.
During her tenure as California attorney general, some 1,560 people were sent to state prisons for cannabis-related offenses between 2011 and 2016, according to state corrections data analyzed
by the Washington Free Beacon
After Harris became the vice presidential nominee, some defended her as a leading progressive
during her time as San Francisco district attorney. Others credited
her predecessor with the reforms.