Joe Biden, Kamala Harris Support No Jail Time for Pot Usage, Despite Harris Jailing Almost 2,000 People for Marijuana Offenses

A demonstrator smokes marijuana during the "Cultivate Your Rights" march demanding its leg

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris stated that people should not be jailed for using or possessing marijuana, despite Harris having a record of overseeing almost 2,000 convictions for marijuana-related offenses.

The statements from Biden and Harris come as the Department of Justice took steps on Thursday to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug.

Currently, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug along with heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and methylenedioxymethamphetamine, otherwise known as ecstasy, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) website.

“No one should go to jail for smoking weed,” Harris wrote in a post on X on Thursday. “We have pardoned tens of thousands of people with federal convictions for simple marijuana possession.”

In another post on X Biden wrote, “No one should be jailed for simply using or possessing marijuana.”

While serving as the district attorney for San Francisco, Harris oversaw almost 2,000 convictions for marijuana-related offenses, according to data obtained by the Bay Area News Group, the Mercury News reported in 2019.

During a Democrat primary debate in July 2019, former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (I-HI) criticized Harris for her prosecutorial record.

“Senator Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor, and that she’ll be a prosecutor president, but I’m deeply concerned about this record,” Gabbard said at the time.

Gabbard added that there were “too many examples to cite” and added that Harris had “put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations.” The numbers Gabbard had referenced were from an article published by the Washington Free Beacon, which referred to data during the time that Harris was the attorney general for California.

While the Free Beacon article, which Gabbard had been referring to said, “at least 1,560 people were sent to state prisons for marijuana-related offenses between 2011 and 2016,” a spokesperson from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told the San Francisco Chronicle that this number had been around 1,974.

The Mercury News explained:

During the last presidential debate in July, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard blasted Harris over marijuana convictions, saying 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 was misleadingly citing figures for all of California while Harris was attorney general – even though the vast majority of marijuana cases in the state are prosecuted by independently elected county district attorneys.

As San Francisco DA from 2004 through 2010, however, Harris had wide latitude to decide which marijuana cases to prosecute and what sentences to seek in the city.

The outlet continued to report that data from the San Francisco district attorney’s office showed that while Harris had served as the DA, “her attorneys won 1,956 misdemeanor and felony convictions” related to growing, possessing, or selling marijuana.

Gabbard’s words during the debate came months after Harris had admitted during an interview in February 2019, that she had smoked marijuana, and then laughed.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.