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Profiles in Prohibition: Kamala Harris’ Father and the Two Caribbean Cultures


Article by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and creator of Blue Ribbon Hemp Oil for Senior Dogs.


The Lord loves a repentant sinner so I was happy to welcome Kamala Harris to the Light Side, when she changed from a supporter of marijuana prohibition to an advocate for legalization. 


Her father, a economist who moved from Jamaica to the US, where she was born, was not so happy. See: Who Is Kamala Harris's Dad Donald Harris, a Renowned Stanford Professor?


Harris’ parents separated when she was young and divorced a few years later. Though Donald Harris remained a part of his children’s lives, Kamala Harris and her sister were raised by their mother. He has since moved back to Jamaica, but he was offended when she responded to a question about her opposition to marijuana legalization by saying, “Half my family’s from Jamaica, are you kidding me?" 


See: Why Is No One Talking About The Drug War (Marijuana) In The 2020 Presidential Election?


He responded by writing to a Jamaican publication, “My dear departed grandmothers (whose extraordinary legacy I described in a recent essay on this website), as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics."


"Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty…


Most  Americans couldn’t find Jamaica on a map, but we have all heard of Bob Marley, Ganja, etc. But Jamaica is actually very divided over the Ganja issue. The Rastarfarians who view Ganja as a sacrament represent only one percent of the population.


Not surprisingly, most Jamaican Christians view the Rastas as heretical and take a dim view of their sacrament. On the other hand, Jamaicans welcome American tourists who may not know much about geography, or theology, but really like Ganja.

Meanwhile, the change in the legal and scientific status of cannabis in the rest of the world is not bypassing the Caribbean. There is increased pressure for more realistic cannabis policies throughout the area, accelerated by the collapse of tourism.


The Jamaican Observer, the island’s leading newspaper, reports that Dominica (a small island in the south of the Caribbean not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is going to “decriminalize” cannabis.


See: How Marijuana Prohibition May Cost Trump A Second Term – Will Biden’s Prohibitionist Past Catch Up With Him?


“Dominica would be joining other Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries, most notably, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua and Barbuda as well as St Vincent and the Grenadines that have in the past amended existing legislation relating to the use of marijuana.”


Mr. Harris has not commented on that, but there is a bit of irony here. Harris is apparently a Marxist, so his opposition to cannabis is not religious, and his concern for the proletariat does not seem to extend to poor Jamaicans. Maybe it’s snobbery. Marxists have always been big on Class. 


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