Louisiana Senate candidate smokes blunt in campaign ad highlighting non-violent drug convictions

US Senate candidate Gary Chambers (D).

A Democratic Senate candidate in Louisiana made a splash on Tuesday with a new ad.
Gary Chambers, a challenger to GOP Sen. John Kennedy, smokes a blunt in the video.
The ad highlights non-violent drug convictions.

Marijuana, once a taboo subject for American politicians, is featured front and center in a new campaign ad out of Louisiana.

Democrat Gary Chambers is seen lighting and inhaling a blunt in his debut TV ad, clocking in at 37 seconds.

—Gary Chambers (@GaryChambersJr) January 18, 2022

“Every 37 seconds someone is arrested for possession of marijuana,” Chambers, a 36-year-old community organizer, says in the video.

Still a prohibited Schedule I substance under federal law, marijuana remains illegal without any decriminalization measures in 24 states.

“States waste $3.7 billion enforcing marijuana laws every year,” Chambers continues in the ad. “Most of the people police are arresting aren’t dealers but rather people with small amounts of pot, just like me.”

The US has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, with roughly half of federal prisoners serving time for drug offenses. Black people are five times more likely to be locked up in a state prison than whites, according to The Sentencing Project’s data for 2021.

In his tweet sharing the video, Chambers explained why he was willing to light up on camera.

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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology,” Chambers tweeted.

The pot smoking ad is the first of its kind in a Senate race, according to NBC News.

Chambers will face off against GOP Sen. John Kennedy and other candidates in the non-partisan primary on November 8, followed by the runoff contest between the top two candidates on December 10.

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Politics, 2022 midterms, Senate, Louisiana, Gary Chambers, Marijuana, blunt

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