Senate candidate Gary Chambers discusses his opposition to criminalizing marijuana

01/20/22

Louisiana U.S. Senate candidate Gary Chambers, who made headlines this week for a campaign ad featuring him smoking a blunt, discussed his progressive platform and opposition to criminalizing marijuana on Hill.TV on Wednesday.

Chambers’s ad spot discussed how Black people are more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws, the costly enforcement of the laws and other cannabis-related issues. 

Asked on Hill.TV’s “Rising” if his advertisement received a negative response, Chambers said it did not, highlighting changes in public perceptions of the drug. 

“I think that we haven’t gotten that because the country is just further along on what they view as it relates to cannabis,” he said of the response. 

“A few years ago, this would have been completely unheard of, but when there are 19 states that have legalized recreational cannabis for use, I think that there are a lot of people in the country who have accepted this and believe that this is not something that people should be criminalized for,” he added.

“I live in a state that’s ranked 50th in the nation in crime, 49 in opportunity,” Chambers also said. “But the reality is, you know, police officers harassing people for cannabis is not reducing crime because we’ve had record breaking homicides in our state this year.”

This spring, Congress is set to take up sweeping initiatives aimed at decriminalizing marijuana. 

“The growing bipartisan momentum for cannabis reform shows that Congress is primed for progress in 2022, and we are closer than ever to bringing our cannabis policies and laws in line with the American people,” Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said in a memo to the Congressional Cannabis Caucus last month.

That memo added that nearly 70 percent of Americans — including roughly half of Republicans — supported legalizing marijuana, according to a 2020 Gallup poll.

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