Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gary Chambers Jr. smokes marijuana in a field in New Orleans while talking about Cannabis reform in his first campaign ad.
The Washington Post calls it a “highly unusual spot.” Chambers is seated in an open field.
He fires up a blunt and takes multiple hits. In a voice-over, he rattles off statistics about the herb. These include facts such as Black people are four times as likely as Whites to be arrested for its possession.
“For too long, candidates have used the legalization of marijuana as an empty talking point in order to appeal to progressive voters,” Chambers said about the ad. “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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology.”
“Most People Police Are Arresting Aren’t Dealers”
In the ad, Chambers mentions someone is arrested for possession of marijuana every 37 seconds, reports ABC News.
“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,” he says.
Chambers ends the ad saying, “Most of the people police are arresting aren’t dealers, but rather people with small amounts of pot, just like me.”
Incentivize Expungement; Expand Banking Access
Chambers supports federal legislation that would incentivize state and local governments to expunge criminal records of those convicted of marijuana offenses. He also supports federally expanding the marijuana industry’s access to financial institutions.
The campaign filmed the ad in New Orleans. That’s where the City Council recently passed an ordinance intended to remove penalties for simple possession of marijuana. A decriminalization law recently lessened penalties to a $100 fine for 14 grams or less of Cannabis in Louisiana.
Chambers, who hopes to unseat U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-La.), describes himself as a social justice advocate and community organizer in Baton Rouge. He ran unsuccessfully last year in a special U.S. House election for Louisiana’s 2nd District.
Ninety-one percent of Americans favor marijuana legalization, according to a Pew Research Center survey in April. Sixty percent told Pew that legalization should be for both adult and medicinal usage.
Only 8% of respondents said it should not be legal for any use.