There’s nothing wrong with a little grassroots organizing, but one Bernie Sanders supporter is under fire for encouraging Bernie fans to burn one for Bernie.
Ariel Zimman, a 29-year-old Portlander from Oregon, had a great idea to spark support and enthusiasm for the 79-year-old underdog campaigning against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential bid.
In her home ceramics studio, appropriately named “Stonedware,” Zimman started making ceramic glass pipes sporting the “Bernie 2016” campaign logo.
Zimman’s pipes come in two varieties, a bowl and a chillum. The chillum is painted with an image of Sander’s signature wide-rim glasses and spastic hairdo. They sell for $60 and $30 respectively.
Part of the success of Zimman’s ceramic bowls has to do with the fact that the Bernie puns for smoking weed basically write themselves. The product’s trending hashtag, for example, reads #BurnOneForBernie.
The Center for Public Integrity pointed out that entrepreneurs take a risk when they use candidates’ names, logos, or likenesses on their products. It’s even riskier to donate a portion of the sales to a candidate’s campaign.
Both Joe Birkenstock, an attorney who has served as the DNC’s chief counsel, and Larry Noble, former lawyer for the Federal Election Commisssion, agree that Zimman is taking some serious chances, arguing that “you can’t promise to pass the money along to the candidate,” Birkenstock said.
Other lawyers, however, say not so much. They argue it would be strange for a campaign to sue their own supporters, especially one as popular as Zimman.
“I can’t imagine the campaign going against them,” Ken Gross, who leads the political law practice at Skadden Arps, said. “They’re supporters. They don’t want to turn them off.”
However, Kenneth Pennington, digital director for the Sanders campaign, told the Center for Public Integrity that the campaign does not “authorize or condone” the practice, but said “it’s not okay to sell things with the campaign’s logo.”
For Ariel Zimman’s part, she just wants to back Bernie.
“It was really just a way to show my support for him as a candidate,” Zimman said. “People love , and once they hear they are contributing in some way to the campaign, they are all about that too.”
Considering Bernie Sander’s progressive stance on marijuana policy, it’s no wonder Burners for Bernie are such a success.