While Rick Steves is perhaps best known for his guide books on traveling as well as his long-running PBS show “Rick Steves’ Europe,” he’s also becoming well-known – especially in the cannabis community – for his continuous battle against marijuana prohibition and his advocacy for legalizing cannabis.
“There are so many reasons to end the prohibition on marijuana. Whether you’re concerned about the well-being of children, fairness for minority communities, redirecting money away from criminals and into state’s coffers, stemming the horrific bloodshed in Mexico, or civil liberties; it is clearly time for a new approach,” Steves said.
As a board member of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), Steves has long been upfront about the need to end prohibition, supporting legalization in several states, including being an outspoken advocate of I-502, the measure that legalized recreational marijuana in his home state of Washington.
“Marijuana use — and how we deal with it — is a serious, expensive, and persistent challenge in our society,” Steves said at the time. “And it’s time for a new approach. That’s why I am co-sponsoring Initiative 502, which will legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana, allowing adults to buy up to one ounce from state-licensed stores (much like the liquor store model).”
“Rick Steves has worked for decades to shine a light on the impact of our outdated marijuana laws. He has been a tireless advocate to end cannabis prohibition,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), co-chair of the Cannabis Caucus, about Steves briefing members of Congress. “We are thrilled to welcome him to Capitol Hill as we continue to educate Members and their staff about the importance of addressing this issue now.”
While progress on the cannabis law reform front moves quickly at the state level, things are moving much slower at the federal level. This is not surprising, but it is frustrating considering that federal marijuana prohibition remains the single biggest hurdle facing the cannabis community as a whole. It hangs as a spectre over every state-legal cannabis business and consumer.
Several bills have been introduced in Congress to end that federal prohibition, including The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017, HR 1227, and The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017, bill S. 1689 in the Senate and HR 4815 in the House of Representatives.