A candidate seeking to represent Louisiana in the U.S. Senate released a campaign on Tuesday that puts cannabis front and center. Democrat Gary Chambers sits in an armchair in a field, smoking a blunt, and listing statistics on the harms of cannabis prohibition.
The clip is titled ” 37 Seconds“, in reference to a study that found that US police make a cannabis-related arrest every 37 seconds on average.
“Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people,” says Chambers. “States waste $3.7 billion enforcing marijuana laws every year. Most of the people the police arrest are not drug dealers, but rather people who have small amounts of weed, like me. »
While cannabis has not been legalized for adults in Louisiana, possession of up to 14 grams was decriminalized last year and is now punishable by a $100 fine. And in New Orleans, where the spot was filmed, police recently announced that they will no longer issue tickets for simple possession of cannabis. The governor also signed a bill last year allowing patients in the state’s medical cannabis program to legally smoke cannabis flowers.
“For too long, candidates have used marijuana legalization as an empty argument to appeal to progressive voters,” Chambers said in a press release. “I hope this ad works to not only de-stigmatize marijuana use, but to force a new conversation that sets the stage for legalizing this beneficial substance, and forgiving those who have been arrested for outdated ideology. »
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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology.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
In the press release attached to the campaign, Chambers said he supported the HOPE Act (Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement), a congressional bill introduced by bipartisan lawmakers last month that would urge states and local governments to expunge cannabis-related criminal records in their jurisdictions.
It also supports the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, another bipartisan bill aimed at protecting financial institutions that provide services to legal cannabis businesses. This bill has passed the House of Representatives five times in one form or another but is still stalled in the Senate.