Gary Chambers, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate representing Louisiana, has posted a video announcing his campaign that features him smoking marijuana.
Chambers says the ad is an attempt to "destigmatize the use of marijuana."
"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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology," Chambers wrote on Twitter.
In his ad titled "37 seconds," Chambers can be seen seated in a leather chair in the middle of a field while wearing a blue suit.
The video highlights injustices involving millions of people who he says have been wrongfully arrested for violating "outdated" laws.
"Every 37 seconds, someone is arrested for possession of marijuana," Chambers said in the new video. "Since 2010, state and local police have arrested an estimated 7.3 million Americans for violating marijuana laws – over half of all drug arrests."
The video specifically highlights that people of color are more likely to be arrested for these laws which he hopes to fight against. Chambers is advocating for federal legalization of marijuana.
He continued, "Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people. States waste 3.7 billion dollars enforcing marijuana laws every year. Most of the people police are arrested aren't dealers, but rather people with small amounts of pot. Just like me."
In 2020, the topic found renewed interest after U.S. Olympic champion Sha’Carri Richardson was told she would not run in the 100-meter race after she tested positive for THC, a chemical found in marijuana, at the Olympic trials – voiding her first-place results.
President Biden hasn't come out in support of legalizing marijuana at the federal level but has said he supports decriminalizing possession of the drug.
So far, 18 states have legalized recreational use and 37 allow for some sort of medical marijuana.