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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Rick Steves Urges Vermont to 'Take the Next Step' in Weed Legalization

Posted By on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 4:13 PM

  • Courtesy of Rick Steves
  • Rick Steves
If you're only familiar with his travel show, "Rick Steves' Europe," you might not guess that the mild-mannered PBS personality is one of America's most prominent advocates for marijuana legalization.

Indeed, the affable TV host and guidebook author has made legal weed a personal crusade, personally donating hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money to legalization efforts across the country, including in his home state of Washington.

But his push for legalization in the U.S. isn't rooted in a particular personal affinity for kind bud. Rather, his stance on marijuana stems from his extensive travels overseas and the "pragmatic harm reduction" approach that many European countries take towards the drug. For Steves, who sits on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), marijuana legalization is not a recreational issue, it's a matter of civil liberties.

This week, Steves' travels take him to Vermont. On Thursday, he'll appear at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier for a news conference with legislators advocating for Vermont to "take the next step" in its legalization process by taxing and regulating a commercial cannabis market. Earlier this year, the state legislature legalized possession of certain amounts of marijuana, but it is still illegal to sell or purchase weed.

On Friday, Steves will give a free lunchtime presentation at the Skinny Pancake on the waterfront in Burlington. The event is cohosted by Heady Vermont, which will livestream the talk on its Facebook page. Later that afternoon, Steves will take part in an interactive livestream hosted on the Marijuana Policy Project's Facebook page

Seven Days caught up with Steves by phone ahead of his Vermont visit.

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