Photo via Ben Jealous
Dave Chappelle is getting out the vote so Maryland can get out and smoke.
After decades of stand-up sets and satirical skits touching on the fluctuating state of American politics, Chappelle has signed on to endorse his very first politician, joining the campaign trail and speaking out in support of Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, Ben Jealous.
In a new interview with MSNBC’s resident hip-hop expert Ari Melber, Chappelle and Jealous recounted their decades of friendship before diving into campaign points and detailing the comedian’s instrumental role in shaping Jealous’ newfound beliefs in comprehensive cannabis reform.
“I didn’t start out on this journey over a year ago planning on [marijuana legalization] being a big issue in my campaign, but Dave has made the argument to me for almost a quarter century,” Jealous told Melber.
During a campaign stop in Largo, MD last week, Jealous told a crowd of voters that Chappelle was the first person to ever present him with a cohesive argument for recreational legalization.
"I'm standing here with the first person who made the argument to me that cannabis should be legal for adult use," said Jealous, with Chappelle by his side.
Both Jealous and Chappelle have used the upcoming Maryland election as a vehicle to discuss the effects that pot prohibition has in low-income neighborhoods around the country. As Chappelle steps into the political spotlight for the first time, the man behind Half Baked quickly made clear that his goals for marijuana legalization start in Maryland, but don’t end there.
“I look at the legalization of marijuana as an inevitability nationally, not just in the state of Maryland,” Chappelle told Melber. “If you look at Ben’s resume, his entire professional resume has been focused on equity. He’s trying to right the playing field and I’ve watched him work tirelessly to that end. There’s nothing in this for me, I just think this guy can make a difference for Maryland.”
Recent polls in Maryland show Jealous neck and neck with Democrat Rushern Baker for the top spot in June 26th’s upcoming Democratic primary for governor. If he wins later this month, Jealous would face off against popular Republican incumbent Larry Hogan in November.