Pot Entrepreneur Hoping to Cash in on Bernie Sanders With BernOneDown.com
By this point in the 2016 presidential campaign, plenty of observers thought Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders would have raised the white flag, allowing ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to march unobstructed to the Democratic nomination.
Instead, he remains a viable candidate, with some prognosticators crediting his position on marijuana for adding to his unexpected strength in states such as Colorado, where he defeated Clinton in a caucus earlier this month.
Which may be why entrepreneur Todd Mitchem has chosen this moment to sell the Sanders- and cannabis-friendly domain name BernOneDown.com.
Asking price: $150,000.
Senator Bernie Sanders.
YouTube file photo
As we've reported, Sanders hasn't always seemed comfortable taking on the mantle of marijuana reformer.
During a mid-2015 interview, Katie Couric asked Sanders if he was really, as he's joked, "the only person who didn't get high in the Sixties" when he moved to Vermont, his political base of operations.
In response, he made a joke about marijuana costing too much before complaining that the fumes made him cough. Then, after acknowledging that "I smoked marijuana twice and it didn't quite work for me," he added, "It's not my thing, but it is the thing of a whole lot of people. And if you want to make the argument that marijuana is less harmful to health than tobacco, I think you'd probably be making a correct argument."
Seconds later, however, he offered what was characterized as "the other side of the story," saying, "If you talk to law-enforcement folks, they see this as an entry-level drug, which leads to coke, which leads to heroin.
"What I can tell you is this," he went on. "We have far, far, far, far, far too many people in jail for non-violent crimes...and I think in many ways, the War Against Drugs has not been successful. And I think we need to rethink that. When I was mayor of the Town of Burlington, which has a large university, and one or two of the kids were smoking marijuana, we suspect, we didn't arrest too many people for marijuana.
"Colorado, some other states, have legalized it. In Vermont, we've decriminalized it. I want to take a look at how that is going before I make a final opinion."
Here's the key section of the Couric interview:
Comments like these led the Washington Post to brand Sanders "pretty timid when it comes to legalization" in a June 2015 article with a memorable headline: "On marijuana, Bernie Sanders is kind of a disappointing socialist ex-hippie."
Perceptions began to change after an October 2015 debate in Las Vegas.
When asked if he would vote to legalize recreational marijuana sales if he was a resident of Nevada, where such a measure is bound for the 2016 ballot, he replied, "I suspect I would."
The debate moment is captured in this video:
These four words were celebrated at the time by observers such as the Marijuana Majority's Tom Angell, who told us, "This is the first time we've seen a major candidate for president say he'd probably vote for legalizing marijuana if given the chance. That says a lot about how far the politics on this issue have shifted in a very short amount of time. As a point of reference, in 2008 no major candidate even supported decriminalization when asked in a debate, and our movement had to chase them around New Hampshire and repeatedly harass them just to garner pledges to stop federal raids on state-legal medical marijuana patients. Legalization is at the forefront of mainstream American politics, and politicians are starting to treat it as such.”
Sanders's stance on marijuana appeared to help him in Colorado. In advance of the caucus, a Washington Free Beacon poll showed that Sanders had turned a 28 point deficit to Clinton in Colorado circa November into a four-point advantage, 49 percent to 43 percent.
Moreover, 58 percent of survey respondents who said that marijuana legalization was "very good" backed Sanders. In contrast, the Hill item points out, "Clinton leads by a 44-32 margin among those who think the law has had a negative effect on the state."
In the end, Sanders handily bested Clinton, collecting around 59 percent of the caucus votes.
Enter Mitchem, CEO of Todd Mitchem Companies, which is selling off a number of the marijuana domains it's collected, including MainStreamCannabis.com and VapeandVinyasa.com. But he thinks BernOneDown.com could be his biggest hit.
"We all sat around and just realized it was time", Mitchem notes in a statement. "We have been storing many domains for a long time and with Bernie's latest successes we knew now was the time to sell this domain to a team that will want to do something amazing and special with it.
"Cannabis is going mainstream and Bernie's view on legalization is proof that it is time to offer his supporters a great domain to utilize," he adds.
While the asking price for BernOneDown.com is set at the aforementioned $150,000 level, the site features a button allowing visitors to "make an offer." To learn more, click here.
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