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Kamala Harris’s SnoopGate Is What A Political Marijuana Controversy Looks Like In 2019

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) turned heads on Monday after admitting that she smoked marijuana during college. But one detail about the prosecutor-turned-Democratic-presidential-candidate’s stoner days doesn’t seem to add up.

Later in the radio interview, Harris was asked what kind of music she listens to. Before she got a chance to answer the general question, another co-host chimed in to ask specifically what she listened to “when you were high.”

“Was it Snoop?” DJ Envy asked.

“Oh yeah, definitely Snoop,” Harris said. “Tupac for sure.”

The problem, as some astute observers have pointed out, is that Harris graduated from law school in 1989. Snoop and Tupac released their debut albums in the early 1990s. Here are some possible explanations, ranked by scandalousness:

1. Harris smoked way more weed than she let on to and her memories of college are a distant haze.

2. Pretending to have listened to Tupac and Snoop Dogg while smoking marijuana was a simple fib that helped her distance herself from the image of a tough-on-crime prosecutor.

3. Harris didn’t exclusively smoke marijuana during college and continued to do so during her time as deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California, a position she held from 1990 to 1998 and which involved the prosecution and sentencing of other people for nonviolent drug crimes.

In any case, Harris has been under a microscope since announcing that she was running for president in 2020—and several right-wing media personalities like Roger Stone and Ben Shapiro were quick to challenge the cannabis timeline she laid out.

Marijuana Moment reached out to Harris’s campaign for clarification, but a representative was not immediately available.

In a tweet, her national press secretary seemed to argue that the candidate’s reminiscing about listening to Snoop and Tupac was in response to the general question about what kind of music she likes, not necessarily to the more narrow query about what she listened to while consuming cannabis.

But that doesn’t seem to square with the fact that seconds later a follow-up question asked, “What do you listen to now?” Harris replied that she likes Cardi B. these days.

OK, so Harris was either mistaken or lied. The Twitter-fueled controversy isn’t going to sink her campaign on its own. But it is a revealing controversy—one that demonstrates just how successful the marijuana reform movement has been.

About 25 years ago—around the time that Tupac’s first album dropped—Bill Clinton told the American public that he experimented with marijuana but “didn’t like it” and “didn’t inhale.”

President Barack Obama got ahead of any potential scandal by admitting in a 1995 memoir that he used cannabis during college. When he was campaigning for president in the 2008 cycle, he joked that he did inhale because “that was the point.”

Now, with support for marijuana legalization continuing to grow and the stigma against users evaporating, hardly anybody bats an eye at the idea of a Democratic presidential candidate smoking marijuana in their youth.

Amazingly, the controversy that’s followed the admission doesn’t concern Harris’s marijuana use itself; rather, it’s about the kind of music she listened to while getting high and whether she potentially did so while prosecuting other people for engaging in similar activities.

Kamala Harris Listened To Tupac While Smoking Marijuana, Which She Says Brings ‘Joy’

This post has been updated with comment from Harris’s national press secretary.

Photo courtesy of YouTube/The Breakfast Club.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based senior editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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