Although California Attorney General Kamala Harris duked it out to victory against pro-pot Republican candidate Ron Gold earlier this month in the general election, she maintains that her position on marijuana is merely part of her job and not an issue in which she holds any level of moral prejudice. In a recent interview with BuzzFeed News, Harris said that she is not at all “opposed” to legalizing the leaf and believes the passing of a voter initiative to do so is inevitable.
“I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I’m the top cop, and so I have to look at it from a law enforcement perspective and a public safety perspective,” said Harris. “I think we are fortunate to have Colorado and Washington be in front of us on this and figuring out the details of what it looks like when it’s legalized.”
“We’re watching it happen right before our eyes in Colorado and Washington,” she continued. “I don’t think it’s gonna take too long to figure this out. I think there’s a certain inevitability about it.”
During her campaign against Gold, a vocal proponent for the legalization of marijuana, Harris refused to comment on whether she supported putting an end to prohibition in California and establishing a taxed and regulated cannabis market similar to Colorado and Washington. Although she did not downplay the issue, telling the press, “this should be up to a vote of the people,” it seemed Harris feared a loss in the November election if she stood too closely beside her opponent on the subject of weed.
However, now the that politicking, pressing of the flesh hoopla is behind her, Harris, who was named earlier this year as a contender to replace U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, says she believes California is well on its way to legalizing marijuana, but it is important for the state to focus on how it will regulate the herb.
“There are real issues for law enforcement, [such as] how you will measure someone being under the influence in terms of impairment to drive,” said Harris. “We have seen in the history of this issue for California and other states; if we don’t figure out the details for how it’s going to be legalized the feds are gonna come in, and I don’t think that’s in anyone’s best interest.”
In September, the Marijuana Policy Project filed the necessary documents with the California Secretary of State to launch an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016; a move that policy experts believe could force Uncle Sam to shit or get off the pot in regards to national marijuana reform.
“When an issue is taken up in California, it becomes a national issue,” said Lynne Lyman, with the Drug Policy Alliance. “What we really hope is that with a state this large taking that step, the federal government will be forced to address the ongoing issue of marijuana prohibition.”