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Rick Steves Knows: Two Americas When It Comes to Marijuana


rick steves washington i 502Most of our laws work very differently for wealthy people and people battling poverty. Wall Street executives that endanger the world’s economy don’t see any jail time, but someone shoplifting to help feed their family just might. Same is true, if not more so, when it comes to our marijuana laws. Everybody loves Willie Nelson, the iconic musician, but if he were William Nelson, working-class construction worker, with the same number of run-ins with the law, he probably would be serving a prison sentence. When you add in people of color, you see even more disparate treatment. Personally, I became a cannabis law reform advocate because I witnessed first hand my middle class white friends treated better than my black friends when police were making marijuana arrests.

It is great to see someone relatively wealthy, like travel guru Rick Steves, recognize that we have a different set of marijuana laws for the rich and the poor in America. It is even better, that he is willing to travel the world, speaking the truth about this injustice. Steves was instrumental in both Washington and Oregon legalizing cannabis and he is taking his common-sense message for justice to California at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference on February 15th & 16th.

Smell the Truth’s David Downs recently published the second part of his extensive interview with the world traveler, author and TV & radio personality:

StT: How long will it take for politicians to catch up to where people are this issue?

Steves: Well, we have two different countries right now. I’ve traveled all over the country. Look at the East Coast. They just can’t hardly believe how far along we are and in their world it feels like they’re still behind. They’re on the dark side of the moon. I think that’s going to change very quickly and I think after 2016, once California legalizes, and a couple other states will go along with it — it’ll be easier because it’s a presidential year — I think it will be pretty hard to deny the fact that prohibition of marijuana is on its way out.

Right now there’s still the hope that it can be rolled back. I’m really thankful we passed in Oregon and Alaska, but we really need California on-board

Downs’ entire piece is certainly worth reading and I urge everyone to spread Rick Steves’ interviews far and wide. Steves has a folksy way about him that appeals to middle-of-the-road voters and he can even charm conservatives. The more that his pragmatic, sensible message is heard by the masses, the better. More and more voters are beginning to understand that our marijuana laws are unfair and a complete waste of resources, regardless of how they feel about marijuana or those that use marijuana. And eventually, the truth shall set us all free.


About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.

  • Just me

    It’s tricky, but you can get a license so that you can grow it legally. In Colorado, I don’t think that you are allowed to grow if you have a felony, though. You might want to check it out. I live in a townhome with strict rules in a very conservative neighborhood. There’s some ex military people and snobs that live around me that have PTSD and can be very mean. It’s the Columbine HS neighborhood. There’s still people here who are suffering from PTSD because of that. Then we had a shooting at Arapahoe HS, and other high profile shootings so it’s put people on edge. They’re really paranoid around here about pot. It sucks but that is the way it is. Maybe this link will help you get the info you need to get started.


  • Just me

    No need to get belligerent. I’m just telling you that pot has an interesting history that has religious roots. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. That’s important to know because the bill of rights is one of the most important founding documents that we have. It gave us freedom from the oppression of the catholic church of England. The KKK and other extremists groups were founded in the catholic church. Hitler was a practicing Roman catholic. The klan was behind the prohibition movement from the start. Therefore, when you think about it, prohibition is a violation of religious freedom which is guaranteed in the US constitution. Wars have been fought and people have been killed by violent criminals over a plant. Prohibition has done far more harm than good. I’m on your side. Be nice! I lost a job because of pot and I haven’t smoked it for years. I had a crazy boss from hell who stalked me and harassed me every chance she got. It happens. I should have sued.

  • been there

    And most (if not all) of these hate groups use religion as their justification for their actions.

  • been there

    Honest religion is an oxymoron. More people have been killed, maimed, and tortured in the name of religion than all other causes since all recorded history.

    Keep your religion off of my cannabis.

  • stars

    good idea ,go to religious to talk about marijuana

  • stars

    Legal ? when i cant grow outdoors , i live on acreage …whats the prob.?

  • Cyndysub

    Here is another SLAM F you.

  • Just me

    Here’s your Ah ha moment. Cannabis has been used by just about every culture and civilization long before recorded history of about 4000bc. Early Christians used it too. It’s mentioned in the bible and other religious texts, but they don’t want to admit it. According to gallop polls over 85% of Americans are in favor of legalization for medical use. Slightly over half are in favor of full legalization. It’s only a matter of time until the feds cave in. http://www.globalhemp.com/2001/01/hemp-history.html

  • Just me

    Any religion that is against cannabis isn’t a very honest religion. There are passages in the bible that explains it’s use in cooking, medicine, industrial uses, and for spiritual enlightenment. The first American bibles were made of hemp and so were the first American flags. It was considered so valuable by our forefathers that people were required to grow it and use it to pay taxes. Cannabis prohibition is un-American. Most religions and cultures at one point in history used it before reefer madness propaganda deceived the world. It doesn’t really matter what day the sabbath is recognized. The sabbath unfortunately is used as a day for some heretics to confess the sins that they committed all week anyway. Arguing about religion is just another way to avoid peace which is what most legit religions strive for. I’m pretty sure that there was more than just tobacco in the peace pipes that native Americans shared with our forefathers. Many of them claim that the Europeans brought it over, but I’m not convinced of that. It is very easy to grow anywhere. It’s very sad that hate groups have distorted what christianity and other peaceful religions are all about.

  • been there

    I guess you didn’t understand the gist of my comment. Cannabis does not need any more regulation than food supplements. Hope that makes my stand clearer.
    It’s my opinion that cannabis does not belong on the CSA or any other “list” any more than pure H2O.