Gary Chambers, a Democrat who launched a bid to serve as a U.S. senator for the state of Louisiana, has captured significant attention by releasing a campaign ad that features footage of him smoking marijuana.
"Most of the people police are arresting aren't dealers, but rather people with small amounts of pot, just like me," Chambers says in a voiceover as video shows him smoking the drug.
"37 Seconds" - Legalize Marijuana | Gary Chambers www.youtube.com
"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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology," the candidate tweeted.
Chambers previously sought a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, but placed third during a special nonpartisan primary in 2021. Now he has his sights set on the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. John Kennedy, a Republican who is seeking re-election this year.
The marijuana-smoking candidate's campaign website describes him as a "social justice advocate and community organizer."
The possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana does not carry the threat of jail time in Louisiana.
"I have signed HB 652, which contrary to the narrative developed in the press and elsewhere, does not decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, 14 grams or less. Instead, anyone convicted of this crime will now be subject to a maximum penalty of $100 instead of being exposed to parish prison time," Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement last year.
Louisiana also allows medical marijuana and has expanded this to include raw smokable marijuana.