Louisiana Senate Candidate Smokes Marijuana In Campaign Ad

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Gary Chambers Jr | Twitter

Damir Mujezinovic

The recreational use of cannabis is legalized in 18 American states. Louisiana is not on that list, and Democratic Party Senate candidate Gary Chambers is vowing to change that if elected.

This week, Chambers released a campaign advertisement in which he smokes a marijuana blunt while citing devastating statistics regarding possession arrests.

The ad went viral on social media, with many praising the Democrat -- who is challenging Republican incumbent Sen. John Kennedy -- for coming up with a unique way to attract attention and solicit contributions.

Read more below.

Gary Chambers Ad

In the 37-second ad -- which can be viewed below -- Chambers notes that "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. Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people," the Senate candidate says.

"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," he continues.

Destigmatizing Marijuana Use

In a Twitter post, Chambers said the goal in what is his first campaign ad was to force a conversation on how beneficial it would be to legalize cannabis.

"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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology," Chambers wrote.

The video has been viewed by millions of people and shared across social media platforms, garnering thousands of likes and retweets on Twitter.

Who Is Gary Chambers?

Chambers competed unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary in the 2021 congressional special election to replace Rep. Cedric Richmond, according to CBS News.

Richmond joined President Joe Biden's administration last year. This time, he will have to compete in the primary against Luke Mixon.

If he manages to win the primary, Chambers will fight an uphill battle Kennedy, who won his seat by 21 points. Though Louisiana's governor is a Democrat, the state leans red and former President Donald Trump won it by 25 points in 2020.

Reactions

Shutterstock | 274

Chambers' ad -- believed to be the first ad featuring a candidate openly smoking marijuana -- impressed Democrats and progressives supportive of marijuana legalization.

Ben Pollara, who ran Florida’s successful medical marijuana initiative in 2018, described it as "one of the greatest things I’ve seen" in an interview with CBS News.

"Legalizing cannabis is taking on added urgency now, not only because of people unjustly incarcerated but also for medicinal and environmental reasons. Time to scrap what should never have been a prohibition in the first place," former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson wrote on Twitter.

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