Rick Steves says once you've been around the world, a little weed won't scare you.
Steves, the famously enthusiastic public-broadcasting travel host, kicked off six-day, 10-city Oregon tour promoting Measure 91 with a wine-and-cheese reception Tuesday night at the First Congregational Church in Portland.
He talked mostly about how his travel experiences formed his views on marijuana legalization in the United States. Steves has been one of the nation's biggest donors to pot legalization efforts: He gave $350,000 to the 2012 ballot measure legalizing weed in Washington, though he has yet to donate to Measure 91.
Here are the seven most interesting things he said.
- "A lot of Americans have this dream of a drug free society. There never has been a drug free society, there never will be a drug free society, and frankly I don't want a drug free society."
- "I think fear is for people who don't get out much. Thereâs a lot of fear wrapped up in this drug policy debateâfear of doing something different."
- "It's fun to make Cheech and Chong jokes, but this is a very serious issue."
- "The best way to lose control of a dangerous substance is to make it illegal. The best way to gain control of it is to regulate it and educate people. I think we can do that with marijuana."
- On minority arrests and citations for marijuana-related crimes: "That's the new Jim Crow."
- "States are incubators of change. State by state, we're going to take down the prohibition of our age."
- "I'm a hardworking, churchgoing, kid raising, tax-paying, American citizen. If I want to go home, smoke a joint and look at the fireplace all night, that's my civil liberty."