UPDATE at 12:22 p.m., Wednesday, May 20, 2015: Harris' campaign responds, disputing the notion that she has changed her tune on marijuana. See more below.
In 2014 a reporter for Sacramento TV station KCRA asked Kamala Harris for her opinion on
medical legalizing recreational marijuana. Her response, which incensed the pro-pot crowd to no end, was laughter.
What a difference nearly a year makes.
Now California's attorney general is running for a U.S. Senate seat. And she's changed her tune from laughter to support for an end of the federal prohibition on medical marijuana.
We're not sure if this is a flip-flop or just a slight turn for the better, but we expect opponents, if she has any to speak of, to pounce.
Harris made it clear just where she stands on the drug war during a speech last weekend at the 2015 Democratic State Convention in Anaheim.
Here's what she said:
… I tell you what: Standing up for the people also means challenging the policy of mass incarceration by recognizing the war on drugs was a failure.
She got a nice round of applause. But her next line blew the roof off the room:
Now is the time to end the federal ban on medical marijuana.
Democrats like marijuana, it seems. And Harris' comments put her in line with the Obama administration's evolving stance on looser drug-crime sentencing and on the legitimacy of medical weed.
Harris' own pronouncements on cannabis have been evolving, too.
Last fall she lashed out at feds' continued crackdowns in medical marijuana states, saying, “An overly broad federal enforcement campaign will make it more difficult for legitimate patients to access physician-recommended medicine in California.”
Late last year, she also said she believed that recreational pot legalization in California was inevitable.
Her latest position coordinates nicely with the 2016 ballot she'll share with presidential candidates and with one or more likely initiatives to fully legalize pot in the Golden State.
It looks like her latest stance is fully official, too: Her campaign was quick to point us to video of her pro-cannabis remarks.
UPDATE at 12:22 p.m., Wednesday, May 20, 2015: Harris' campaign wants to make it clear that the attorney general has been on record as supporting the rights of patients to obtain medical marijuana legally in California for several years.
Her pro-pot critics had been unhappy with her lack of action when federal authorities cracked down on otherwise legit dispensaries in the Bay Area four years ago. But the candidate's campaign office is correct in pointing out that she's been on the record as supporting patients' rights for years.