Travel guru Rick Steves has a robust Facebook following and has been in the limelight supporting controversial drug-law reform that culminated in critical support of marijuana legalization. But even with more than 350,000 page followers, this quite simple post caused quit a stir even for him:
"I'm a hardworking, tax-paying, kid-raising, church-going citizen of the United States. And if I work hard all day long and want to go home, smoke a joint, and just stare at the fireplace for three hours — that is my civil liberty."
Steves said he shared the post mainly to draw attention to an interview with him in the Seattle news magazine Crosscut that "shares my thinking well."
That interview stated, "Steves has become the pied piper of legalized marijuana, not just in the Pacific Northwest, but nationally. Steves says 2016 is a big year with the potential to tip the balance on marijuana laws in this country. And he intends to be out there, committing his reputation, time and money to make it happen. He’s already done that. Steves was a driving force behind Washington’s I-502 in 2012 which, along with Colorado’s, broke the barrier for states legalizing recreational pot, also regulating and taxing it. Oregon, also with Steves backing, did the same in 2014."
And Steves can reach an important constituency: the swing voter. “He raises the right eyebrows,” says Nadelmann. Think of this travel audience: largely white, middle class, middle American, not potheads nor people interested in making a buck in the marijuana business, not even current users but folks who probably haven’t given the issue much thought. Steves, the knowledgeable travel guide, is there to get them to think about it.
First, Steves says, he is not “pro pot.” Steves says, “I am anti-prohibition and pro-civil liberties.” He believes adults should have the right to smoke marijuana. A proposal he didn’t like: a recent Ohio law, defeated last year, that would have established what was essentially a marijuana cartel of approved suppliers. The idea of Big Weed does not appeal to him.