Louisiana Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Gary Chambers released a controversial ad on Tuesday that features him smoking marijuana.
Chambers, who seeks to upset Republican Sen. John Kennedy, is featured in the new commercial that portrays him sitting in an open field and lighting up, taking in multiple puffs as he speaks in his video entitled “37 Seconds.”
“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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology,” Chambers wrote in a statement alongside the video.
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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology.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
“Every 37 seconds someone is arrested for possession of marijuana. Since 2010, state and local police have arrested an estimated 7.3 million Americans for violating marijuana laws, over half of all drug arrests,” Chambers said in the video.
“Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people. States waste $3.7 billion dollars 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,” he added.
Chambers recently announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate on January 11.
I’m running for the U.S. Senate.
Louisiana has been last long enough, it’s time for new leadership in Washington D.C. that will prioritize working class people. Join me on this journey for change. When we come together anything is possible. #MoreOfUshttps://t.co/EoFc59Wo1t pic.twitter.com/XQZ3UfXru9
— Gary Chambers (@GaryChambersJr) January 11, 2022
“Louisiana has been last long enough, it’s time for new leadership in Washington D.C. that will prioritize working class people. Join me on this journey for change. When we come together anything is possible,” he said in the announcement.
On his campaign website, Chambers is described as:
Gary Chambers, an entrepreneur and co-founder of the media outlet, The Rouge Collection, is a noteworthy social justice advocate and community organizer who has been featured in outlets such as 225 Magazine (2017 People to Watch edition), Wired Magazine, The New York Times, CNN, Morning Joe, and Roland Martin Unfiltered for his tireless efforts in advancing the most disenfranchised communities across Louisiana. As an advocate, his work has contributed to advancements in the justice system, healthcare access, and to equality in the municipal contracting process for minority owned businesses.
Chambers plans to run on a platform that includes legalizing marijuana. He also seeks to encourage the government to expunge the records of those with marijuana-related offenses.
“Chambers supports federal legislation that would incentivize state and local governments to expunge the criminal records of those who have been convicted of marijuana offenses and that would expand the marijuana industry’s access to financial institutions,” The Washington Post reported.
“His campaign said the ad was filmed in New Orleans, where the City Council recently passed an ordinance intended to remove penalties for simple possession of marijuana,” the report added.
Chambers, from Baton Rouge, ran in a failed attempt to win election as a congressman for the state’s 2nd district in a special election in 2021.
As of January 2022, 18 states and Washington, D.C., allow the use of marijuana for non-medical use by adults. “According to 2020 U.S. Census Bureau apportionment numbers, more than 145 million Americans now live in a state that has legalized marijuana,” U.S. News reported.