As many prominent national Democrats shift to the left, Rep. Joe Kennedy III is once again having to defend views that were once, if no longer, in his party’s mainstream. This time the pressing questions didn’t come from activists or policy wonks — but Jimmy Kimmel.

The Massachusetts congressman was a guest on Kimmel’s late-night talk show Wednesday (following fellow Bay Stater John Cena) and talked about everything from this family tree to his time in the Peace Corps to his well-received, if slightly mocked, State of the Union response.

“The biggest takeaway for me from that experience is it has solidified for me the generosity, the compassion, the caring of the American public,” Kennedy told Kimmel. “I have gotten tubes of chapstick from every damn corner of this country.”


However, the 10-minute interview also turned to some less comfortable issues for the Newton Democrat, including two issues on which he diverges from the majority view of his party.

“You are against the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Why?” Kimmel asked. “What’s wrong with you?”

Kennedy’s skepticism about marijuana legalization for both recreational and medicinal purposes is well-documented, having voted against marijuana bills that even many Republicans supported. As the congressman has explained in the past, his opposition — or at least hesitance — is rooted in concerns about mental health and addiction.

Kennedy reiterated Monday that he felt lawmakers need to be “thoughtful” as the country increasingly embraces reform of marijuana laws, including in his home state of Massachusetts, and said the actions by President Donald Trump’s administration on the issue were making matters worse.

“I acknowledge that I’m an outlier on this,” he said. “I just think it’s something we want to be careful and deliberate about.”

Kimmel then moved on

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