Politicians have been accused of “blowing smoke” when it comes to promises made to the voting public. However, U.S. Senate candidate Gary Chambers gave new meaning to the term by taking a toke of marijuana in a new campaign ad. Chambers, a Louisiana native, released the visual earlier this week that has since gone viral, bringing the conversation surrounding the criminalization of marijuana, particularly in the Black community, back to the forefront.
The clip, titled “37 Seconds” in reference to how often an American is arrested for the possession of marijuana, centers the disparity in marijuana criminalization between Black people and other races. “Since 2010, state and local police have arrested an estimated 7.3 million Americans for violating marijuana laws — over half of all drug arrests. Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people,” Chambers says while reeling off statistics about the disparity in the number of Black people impacted by marijuana-related offenses.
A Democrat and social justice activist, Chambers, who is attempting to unseat Republican Senator John Kennedy in this year’s upcoming primary, revealed the inspiration behind his provocative political statement while unveiling the ad on social media. “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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology,” the rising political star wrote on Twitter.
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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology.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 2021, Chambers barely missed a runoff for a seat in the 2nd Congressional District.