Support for cannabis legalization and growing disgust over racially-biased marijuana arrests are at an all-time high.
Democrat Gary Chambers, who is seeking a U.S. Senate seat from Louisiana, released a campaign ad on Tuesday in which he smokes a sizable blunt while sitting in an armchair looking about as chill as someone could possibly look. But Chambers is dead serious about the harms of cannabis criminalization.
“Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people,” Chambers says quoting ACLU statistics. “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.”
The ad is titled “37 Seconds,” a reference to research finding that police make a marijuana-related arrest every 37 seconds on average.
“For too long, candidates have used the legalization of marijuana as an empty talking point in order to appeal to progressive voters,” Chambers said in a press release. “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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology.”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, a well-known social justice advocate in Baton Rouge who ran for a U.S. House seat in the past, is now running against incumbent Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), who has consistently refused to sponsor any cannabis-related legislation since he took the seat in 2017.
In the press release, Chambers also expressed support for the Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act, a bipartisan congressional bill introduced by Ohio Republican Dave Joyce and New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in December.
Although a sitting member of Congress has never publicly smoked weed, this might be the first time a candidate does so in a campaign ad.
Chamber’s Twitter account, by the way, is exploding, mostly with ecstatic support though there are a few prohibitionist naysayers warning that he’s a “fool.” Only time will tell. After all, support for cannabis legalization and growing disgust over racially-biased marijuana arrests are at an all-time high.