California paved the way for the medical marijuana in 1996, but the recreational use and retail sale of cannabis has yet to pass. If the legalization movement that swept election day earlier this month is any indication, this will not be true for long.
Kamala Harris was re-elected this election day, and has been seated as California’s top-cop since 2011. In a recent interview with Buzzfeed, the Attorney General shared her well-rounded views on legalizing cannabis in the state of California.
Harris summed up her personal view and acceptance of the plant with the statement,
“I don’t have any moral opposition to it or anything like that. Half my family’s from Jamaica.”
Although she may not see anything wrong with cannabis use, she cannot allow her personal feelings to run her professional stance on the matter because she is responsible for the state. To explain this, she reported, “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. 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.”
Harris does not anticipate California waiting much longer to legalize with the efforts being organized to place a measure on the 2016 ballot, but thinks it is important to allow voters to decide. She pointed out, “We’re watching it happen right before our eyes in Colorado and Washington. I don’t think it’s going to take too long to figure this out. I think there’s a certain inevitability about it.”
Thinking as a top-cop should, Harris is exploring all possible angles. She understands that the path is being paved already in Colorado and Washington, and soon there will be more examples to learn from in Oregon and Alaska. Harris made it clear in further elaboration that she anticipates to learn a lot from the growing pains experienced in these states where voters already legalized,
“It would be easier for me to say, ‘Let’s legalize it, let’s move on,’ and everybody would be happy. I believe that would be irresponsible of me as the top cop. The detail of these things matters. For example, what’s going on right now in Colorado is they’re figuring out you gotta have a very specific system for the edibles. There are real issues for law enforcement, [such as] how you will measure someone being under the influence in terms of impairment to drive.”
Harris also clarified that she is looking out for the best interest of the state to avoid possible federal repercussions, “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.”
Although, Harris is aware that recreational legalization of the plant is guaranteed in the not-so-distant future, she will not publicly endorse the issue because she has a professional responsibility to uphold. The state of California is in intelligent, capable hands that are aware of the big picture and the future of cannabis in the United States.
photo credit: Salon