Why travel expert Rick Steves thinks cannabis reform isn’t…

Why travel expert Rick Steves thinks cannabis reform isn’t…


Rick Steves is usually known for his travel expertise, but since 2012 he’s also been a vocal advocate for the legalization of cannabis for adults.

The presenter of “Rick Steves’ Europe” sees himself as a different kind of speaker – in contrast to, for example, Snoop Dog or Tommy Chong – who cannabis can take away the fear.

“I realized that I had something to offer because I’m a businessman, a leader in my church, and not a counterculture person,” Steves told Benzinga.

Steves brings what he sees as a European sensibility to the discussion, believing that harm reduction is the way forward, not incarceration.

Steves pointed to the negative effects of opioids and the ongoing drug war, from disproportionate arrest rates to the cost of policing, all play a role.

“I think it just makes more sense to take crime out of the equation and talk about it in terms of education and health,” he said.

Smarter Laws

Steves first began stumbling for legalization in his native Washington state. Since then, he has pushed for legalization in various states.

This time, NORML Board Member Arizona and New Jersey lends his voice. He selected the two states using the same criteria he carries out in every election cycle. “Every two years I come on board to support legislation that I would consider public health legislation,” Steves said.

Factors in his decision include road safety, workers’ rights and respecting the wishes of citizens who do not wish to participate, among others.

“Every year we get smarter about legalization,” he said. Unlike in European markets like the Netherlands, where distribution and wholesale laws remain in a gray area, states have often played their part in creating regulations that target the illicit market and generate tax revenue for the community.

Steves credited such laws with creating a lucrative marketplace where operators strive to remain compliant and carefully governed.

The key to keeping the illicit market in check is to ensure that taxes and other prices are never…


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