“Every 37 seconds, someone is arrested for possession of marijuana,” Democratic Senate candidate Gary Chambers Jr. said in an ad released on Tuesday. While this quote was on the screen candidate Gary Chambers Jr. could be seen smoking a rather large blunt in the background stunting an elegant navy suit. “Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people.” The ad goes on to say as the candidate takes more tokes from the blunt. This political advertisement stands as a message to the people of Louisiana and those around the US. Marijuana is becoming more widely accepted around the country, and the laws need to be changed.
Candidate Gary Chambers Jr. is seeking to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana who was last elected in 2016. Chambers is running on a platform that reforms the marijuana industry and justice system in Louisiana. He is hoping to expunge marijuana arrest records and free those who are incarcerated with legal reforms. Currently, in Louisiana, possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor crime with a fine of up to $100 with no jail time. According to a 2020 report from the ACLU, there were over 8 million arrests in the US between 2001 – 2010 and the enforcement of those arrests cost taxpayers roughly $3 billion each year.
Chambers has backed multiple pieces of legislation that would support local and state officials expunge criminal records of those convicted under marijuana laws. “We must move toward criminal justice reform regarding marijuana arrests by pushing away the stigma and being real,” Chambers said in a recent statement. The election to challenge Kennedy is at the end of 2022, polls are sparce, but time will tell if Chambers cannabis ad will have a drastic effect on the outcome of the election.
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