Gary Chambers Jr. announced his candidacy for a Louisiana U.S. Senate seat on January 12. A week later, the progressive Democrat made a bigger splash by lighting and smoking a blunt cannabis cigar in a 37-second promotional video.
"Every 37 seconds someone is arrested for possession of marijuana," Chambers narrates. "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. States waste $3,7 billion enforcing marijuana laws every year. Most of the people police are arresting aren't dealers, but rather people with small amounts of pot just like me."
In addition, Chambers told CBS News:
"We must move toward criminal justice reform regarding marijuana arrests by pushing away the stigma and being real. Some parts of the country are fighting opioid addictions and creating millionaires and better schools from the marijuana industry. Others are creating felonies and destroyed families. I can't stand for that."
Last March, Chambers ran for the U.S. House in a nonpartisan primary and placed third with 21.3% of the vote. He also lost a 2019 race for the State Senate District 15 seat.
"We must move toward criminal justice reform regarding marijuana arrests by pushing away the stigma and being real."
Chambers is hoping to oust conservative Republican Sen. John Kennedy. His Democratic competition is Louis Mixon. Louisana's other senator, BIll Cassidy, is a moderate Republican.
But thanks to his blunt-smoking video, which is going viral, Chambers is now a household name.
Cannabis in Louisiana
Possession of less than 14 grams of marijuana in Louisiana is decriminalized and only punishable by a $100 fine. Possession of more than 14 grams can result in a six-month sentence. Medical cannabis was legalized in 2020.