High On Socialism: Sanders Fan Sells Marijuana Pipes To Fund Bernie

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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Sen. Bernie Sanders’s decision to reject big Wall Street money is paying dividends, generating innovative fundraising methods that now include ceramic marijuana pipes.

Ariel Zimman, a 29-year-old Portland resident, is raising money for the socialist candidate by selling her homemade ceramic pipes covered in the Sanders campaign logo.

The chief audience for these specialized products are the so-called “Burners for Bernie,” a group of pot smokers who temper their love of cannabis with enthusiasm for democratic socialism.

“It was really just a way to show my support for him as a candidate,” Zimman told the Center for Public Integrity. “People love [the pipes], and once they hear they are contributing in some way to the campaign, they are all about that too.”

The pipes will set you back $60, and Zimman promises that 10 percent of the proceeds will go the Sanders campaign. The 74-year-old Vermont senator is the only candidate running for the White House who has called for marijuana to be decriminalized at the federal level.

But Zimman’s contribution to the Sanders campaign could fall foul due to campaign finance laws. “You can’t promise to pass the money along to the candidate,” said Joe Birkenstock, an attorney who served as the chief counsel of the Democratic National Committee.

“If I was advising one of these vendors, I would probably advise them to be a little less specific in their solicitation,” Larry Noble, a former lawyer for the Federal Election Commission added, according to the Center for Public Integrity report.

Bernie Sanders just introduced a marijuana reform bill to the Senate in November 2015, which would remove marijuana completely from federal scheduling.

The bill, called Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015, followed a speech from Sanders at George Mason University that marijuana should be removed from the list of Schedule I substances. “In my view, the time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana,” Sanders said

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