If you’ve done a lot of traveling, you likely know about Seattle’s Rick Steves, who hosts Rick Steves’ Europe on public TV and Travel with Rick Steves on public radio and has written numerous books and columns focusing on the importance of traveling and immersing yourself in local culture. Steves has also become one of the most prominent cannabis legalization advocates with his charismatic personality, positive demeanor and mainstream appeal. Steves hasn’t been able to travel much lately, but he’s keynoting the upcoming virtual International Cannabis Business Conference and speaking out about how legalizing cannabis is a civil liberties issue and it helps end harmful laws steeped in racism.
The Northwest travel guru recently spoke to LA Weekly:
Steves isn’t trying to convince any of these folks that marijuana is the best thing around, but you should not be locking people up for enjoying it.
“That’s kind of what I’m into. I fully understand the value of medical marijuana but it’s not my crusade. I’m sure it’s really exciting to get into the Green Rush and make some money with legal cannabis but that’s not my thing either. I just recognize the racism in it. I recognize the inherent lies and good people embracing reefer madness propaganda. And I’m just a big fan of civil liberties,” Steves said.
“I think we all need to remember it is still a struggle on the civil liberties front and we all work together we can keep the ball rolling forward to end the prohibition of marijuana.”
Rick Steves is 100% correct. While cannabis sales and tax revenue numbers make the headlines, it’s important to remember that legalization is about civil liberties and erasing a century of harmful policing practices that have disproportionately harmed people of color and the poor. As our nation deals with civil unrest sparked by the murder of George Floyd and too many unarmed people by law enforcement, it’s time to work even harder to end cannabis prohibition and the Greater Drug War from coast to coast. We have an opportunity, let’s seize it.