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Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders made quite a splash on his southward West Coast tour last week, packing speaking venues in Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles and whipping up a fervor over his anti-corporate barbs and leftie proposals.

Bernie bashed Wall Street and income inequality and found cheers of support for his proposals for free public college tuition and raising the minimum wage. But he's also found common ground with his fellow senator Rand Paul, a small government social conservative contender for the 2016 Commander in Chief seat.

Both have evinced concerns over America's War on Drugs, though Sanders has done so with more eloquence and for seemingly grander reasons. (Paul's motivation seems to be to end the tyranny of the nanny state — a let-the-drug-addicts-kill-themselves-if-they-want creed — while Sanders has decried the social and economic harm of the decades-long policy.) Sanders was quoted in the Washington Post at his Seattle rally: "Too many lives have been destroyed by the war on drugs. Too many lives have been destroyed by incarceration."

But the Post also called him out for wishy-washiness on legalization in an article titled "On marijuana, Bernie Sanders is kind of a disappointing socialist ex-hippie."

What does that mean for Humboldt? Well, Sanders and Paul appear to be the only candidates who've said they would consider federal legalization of weed, for one thing. Both appeal to a young, educated, affluent — or at least middle class — white crowd (although Sanders has addressed the racial inequalities of the War on Drugs and doesn't share Paul's familial *ahem* legacy of looney racist rants). Both are longshots, as well. Despite Bernie's recent growth in recognition and popularity, he remains well behind Hillary Clinton in the polls and some suggest his surge is over — though he remains the only real challenger to Clinton in the Democratic Primary.

Paul's campaign hasn't gone much of anywhere; Politico reports that he's anxiously trying to rewrite party rules in his native Kentucky so he can simultaneously run for president and re-election to his senate seat.

So, at this early point, marijuana's national campaign in 2016 is still slim at best.

The New York Times recently re-doubled its previous editorial stance in favor of legalizing marijuana, calling out Congress and President Obama for being too timid on marijuana reform. In the call to action, the Times argues that the patchwork of statewide legal systems is going to create a tangled national mess of marijuana laws. "Direct democracy can sometimes produce good results. But it would be far better for Congress and the president to repeal failed laws and enact sensible drug policies."

A bud by any other name would smell as sweet.

In news that's sure to send a nation of drama kids spiraling into stonerdom, South African researchers discovered the residue of marijuana in pipes found in William Shakespeare's backyard.

Of course, if confronted by the law, the Bard would just say he was holding the stash for Christopher Marlowe.

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About The Author

Grant Scott-Goforth

Grant Scott-Goforth

Grant Scott-Goforth was an assistant editor and staff writer for The Journal from 2013 to 2017.

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