Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gary Chambers lit up a blunt in his first campaign ad in a bid to “destigmatize” marijuana as he seeks to unseat Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy.
“Every 37 seconds, someone is arrested for possession of marijuana,” Chambers says in the ad as he sits in a Louisiana field in a suit and tie lighting up a blunt. “Since 2010, state and local police have arrested an estimated 7.3 million Americans for violating marijuana laws, over half of all drug arrests.”
My first campaign ad, ‘37 Seconds.’ #JustLikeMe
I hope this ad works to not only destigmatize the use of marijuana, but also forces a new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology. pic.twitter.com/G0qKvmUGKD
— Gary Chambers (@GaryChambersJr) January 18, 2022
“Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people. States waste $3.7 billion enforcing marijuana laws every year. Most of the people police are arresting aren’t dealers but rather people with small amounts of pot, just like me,” Chambers argues. (RELATED: ‘Smells Like Weed All The Damn Time’: Marijuana Farms Are Springing Up In One Red State)
In a statement, Chambers said “candidates have used the legalization of marijuana as an empty talking point in order to appeal to progressive voters,” according to The Advocate.
“I hope this ad works to not only destigmatize the use of marijuana, but also forces a new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology,” he says.
Smokeable medical marijuana became legal in Louisiana at the start of the new year, albeit with certain restrictions. A 2021 law decriminalized possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana while the New Orleans City Council pardoned 10,000 marijuana possession cases for anyone convicted after 2010, ABC News reported.
Attitudes toward marijuana have shifted in recent years, with South Carolina Republican Rep. Nancy Mace introducing a bill in November that would decriminalize marijuana nationwide, allowing states to regulate the drug as they see fit. It would also establish a 3% federal marijuana tax to help “fund law enforcement, small businesses and veterans mental health initiatives.”