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Rick Steves Offers ‘New European Approach’ to Marijuana Legalization

Maureen Meehan

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In addition to donating a healthy $100,000 in matching funds to the Yes on 4 Campaign, Rick Steves will touch down from one of his many Europe trips to help promote legalization in Massachusetts for four days in October.

The affable globe-trotter’s visit to the Bay State is happening not a moment too soon. A recent poll on Question 4, once considered a shoo-in, suggests that opponents and proponents are practically in a dead heat.

“There are so many reasons to end the prohibition on marijuana,” Steves said in a press release. “Whether you’re concerned about the well-being of children, fairness for our minority communities, redirecting money away from criminals and into our state’s coffers, stemming the horrific bloodshed in Mexico, or civil liberties, it is clearly time for a new approach.”

Steves, host of PBS Rick Steves’ Europe and author of dozens of travel books, has supported pot legalization for years and has put his time and money where his heart is.

The travel lover, who resides in Washington State, has been moving around the country in support of legalization during these critical pre-election months as five states prepare to vote for full legalization and five for medical marijuana.

Apart from his practical approach, Steves often refers to a European perspective on drugs. In a Seattle Times op-ed, he referred to pot use as a “serious, expensive and persistent challenge in our society, in need of a new approach.”

“Through my travels in Europe, I’ve learned that pragmatic harm reduction makes much more sense than legislating morality,” he wrote on his webpage. “And I believe in civil liberties.”

“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,” he added in an interview on YouTube.

One of Rick Steve’s best quotes, from the same YouTube interview, is when he compared getting high to traveling.

“To me, high is a place and I really treasure that. When I want to get there, I want to go there, and I don’t need my government to give me a passport for that place.”

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