Rick Steves Speaks Candidly on Pot Topic

Rick Steves Speaks Candidly on Pot Topic
Posted by CN Staff on April 10, 2008 at 11:05:16 PT
By Bill Mann, CCT Staff
Source: Oakland Tribune
USA -- Like many of you, I'm a big fan of PBS travel guru Rick Steves, the bespectacled and fresh-faced Eurotraveler. I'm becoming an even bigger fan. We always bring the Seattle-based Steves' useful guides with us to Europe. My wife and I share his shopping-averse, thrifty, get-to-know-the locals travel philosophy.
Only rarely do you hear low-key, straight-arrow Steves, who spends a lot of time here at KQED-TV raising pledge money, say something provocative. Last year when asked what he thought about cruises, Steves replied memorably: "That's not travel. That's hedonism."But Steves' infrequent outspokenness didn't prepare me for what I heard on the radio up in Seattle recently. Steves was the guest of his pal, local talk-show host Dave Ross (Ross's commentaries are heard here on KCBS).Great, I thought. I'm going to learn more about European travel. That didn't happen. Instead, to my surprise, Steves spent the whole hour intelligently (and, I might add, persuasively) arguing against our country's marijuana laws. It was a side of Steves I hadn't known about or expected. I also had no idea Steves was a board member of NORML. Needless to say, PBS, mindful of its new Republican watchdogs, is sensitive to all this, something Steves conceded. So you have to do quite a bit of searching on Steves' Web site to find his outspoken views on the environment, the legalization of marijuana, etc. Here's a good place to start: (In fact, PBS is so nervous about the religious right these days that next Tuesday night's "American Experience" documentary airing on Channel 9 about daring poet Walt Whitman, a gay man, shows a straight couple hugging and kissing in the grass, and a suggestion of even more. But a gay couple is briefly shown and only hugs. No kissing.) "The more I travel around Europe," Steves told Ross, "the more I realize how outdated and foolish our laws criminalizing marijuana are in this country. Prohibition didn't work, and neither does this." Given all the news about medical marijuana in California these days, Steves is speaking out at a good time. He's one of the very few public figures daring to do so. A couple of nights later, I caught Steves again, this time on Seattle NPR affiliate KUOW-FM. Steves was addressing University of Washington students, and he was even more outspoken. Watch out for that right-wing backlash, Rick."Marijuana hasn't been legalized in Europe," he said. "That's a misconception. It's tolerated. There are government clinics to help marijuana users.""Right now, in the U.S.," Steves told the supportive college audience, "About the only people who dare speak against our outdated laws are old hippies like Willie Nelson and Woody Harrelson. Nobody in public life is even talking about it. People need to start speaking out. "I've gone on talk shows and spoken about this. Only when the mic's turned off do politicians and media personalities tell me thanks for talking about legalization.""Marijuana," he told the UW students, "only becomes a gateway drug when you make it illegal."Steves has posted even stronger opinions on his web site. One of them:"To sell its deceitful war on marijuana, our government employs the big-lie technique. When it comes to the drug war's take on marijuana, the propaganda erodes the credibility of the government, of schools and of parents. We've got a White House that spends millions of dollars advertising in the Super Bowl trying to convince people that marijuana causes teen pregnancies. And its ads are surrounded by beer ads! Now, what's causing those pregnancies?"Keep on travelling _ and speaking out, Rick. Someone needs to. Bill Mann's column runs every other week. Source: Oakland Tribune (CA)Author: Bill Mann, CCT StaffPublished: April 10, 2008Copyright: 2008 MediaNews Group, Inc. Contact: triblet Website: Article:Fresh Ideas for a Tired Crusade Pro Steves To Challenge Futile Drug War 
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on April 10, 2008 at 22:07:13 PT
Bravo, kap
Bravo! It seems the New World Order crowd could not give two hoots about the people of the USA. The neo-cons just use the USA as a tool for their real goal of global domination (and let the peasants of the world fight it out among themselves)!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 10, 2008 at 17:37:59 PT
I hope this link helps.,_Sudan
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Comment #3 posted by rchandar on April 10, 2008 at 16:12:22 PT:
A Thought
Anyone got Obama's take on Darfur?
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Comment #2 posted by kaptinemo on April 10, 2008 at 14:40:53 PT:
Lysenko-ization has many forms
When I was a kid in public school, we were taught in social studies class about different societies...and the strange things those societies believed. The implication was that many of those societies were comparatively 'backwards' because they allowed superstitious beliefs to erode their ability to develop the level of technological, scientific and social sophistication that ours (supposedly) had.Later on I learned about a guy named Lysenko, and how he had, with the blessing of the Communist leadership of the day, imposed a nonsensical view of biology on Soviet science that set them back decades behind the West. (Insisting that genes didn't exist, for example.) I used to laugh at such instances of idiocy-as-policy...until I began to investigate the origins of US drug policy, and found the same kind of politically sanctioned nonsense being promoted when the science simply didn't justify it. Especially with regards to cannabis; nothing brings that kind idiocy into starker, clearer focus than that.The Western world used to laugh at Lysenko and what he did. Now I swear I hear his ghostly laughter from Hell because we've taken whole chapters from his book and allowed them to be applied to American science, which has become so politicized that only certain subjects - like cannabis studies - can be performed outside the US because the political climate within it is inimical to such research. Research that may someday yield a cure for nearly every cancer.We didn't use to be this way, but extreme religious fundamentalism (the sort which fueled the beginning of the DrugWar; it was WASP missionaries in China and the Phillipines that got the ball rolling here in the US) combined with political opportunism has forced US science to take a back seat to superstitious nonsense. You can't make policy based upon fairy tales...yet that is exactly what has been happening, particularly when it comes to illicit drugs. This country may have been irrevocably harmed by this...which would have suited the old Soviets just fine. And what's so galling about it all is...we did it to ourselves... 
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on April 10, 2008 at 12:27:14 PT
So true about PBS being under seige. I knew some people that worked there, they said when the "Evolution" mini-series came out they were getting death threats and threats of lawsuits for months from the fundies in the Bible belt.
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