Gary Chambers Jr., a Democrat and social justice activist, is shown in the ad sitting in a chair and taking puffs from a rolled joint of marijuana. While smoking, he cites statistics of arrests of black Americans linked to possession of marijuana.
“I hope this publicity not only works to de-stigmatize the use of marijuana, but also forces a new conversation that paves the way for the legalization of this beneficial drug and forgives those who have been arrested because of an ideological outdated,” he wrote in a tweet
, by sharing the announcement.
Chambers is seeking to unseat Republican Senator John Kennedy in November’s multiparty primary. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, there will be a runoff in December for the seat.
In a statement to CNN on Tuesday, Chambers said it’s “long overdue for politicians to stop claiming to be better or different from the people they represent,” adding that it’s time to overhaul the treatment of possession. marijuana through the criminal justice system.
“Some parts of the country are battling opioid addictions and creating millionaires and better schools through the marijuana industry. Others are creating crime and destroying families. I can’t stand this,” Chambers said. .
The ad, according to his campaign, was filmed over the weekend in New Orleans, where the city council took action in August to remove penalties for marijuana possession.
In June 2021, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, signed into law a bill that reduces penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Earlier this month, a new law took effect to expand medical marijuana, a move that was passed by the state legislature in 2021.
According to a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2020, black Americans are nearly four times more likely than white Americans to be arrested for possession of marijuana despite similar rates of use.