NEW ORLEANS, La. (BRPROUD) – U.S. senate candidate Gary Chambers released his first campaign ad Tuesday since announcing his candidacy which shows him smoking a blunt while listing statistics about marijuana that his campaign described as “alarming.”

Chambers, citing reports by the American Civil Liberties Union, says that the U.S. spends $3.6 billion a year enforcing marijuana laws and that Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for violating marijuana laws than white people.

Medicinal marijuana became legal in Louisiana in 2019. At the start of 2022, smokable marijuana became available for patients after Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 391 in July, but recreational use of the drug remains illegal.

Two state-wide polls conducted last spring indicated that a majority of Louisiana residents support legalization for recreational use.

One poll, commissioned by the Louisiana Association for Therapeutic Alternatives and conducted by JMC Analytics and Polling, found that two-thirds of residents support legalization.

Another poll by the University of New Orleans found 55 percent of residents support legalization.

The Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives Tanner D. Magee, a Republican, also commissioned a poll of his district last year which he says found 75 percent polled in favor of legalization.

“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new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology,” said Chambers in a press release.

Chambers unsuccessfully campaigned to represent Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District in 2020. He missed the runoff election by one percent.