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Rick Steve takes a stand

I was looking on YouTube to see some clips of Rick's shows, and overwhelmingly, much of what I found was clips of him speaking out on legalizing marijuana. I was really surprised! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Y2gHGOVsfA

Posted by
19169 posts

I graduated from college in 1966, too early to partake of the drug culture that would engulf my college a year later. Within a year I was working in a very sensitive defense industry, where even the suspicion that you might be smoking pot could cause you to lose your security cleanance, and thus your job. So I missed out.

A few years ago, now retired, and realizing that I was going to Europe about once a year, and marijuana was legal in some places, I thought about doing a side trip to Amsterdam to find out what it was all about.

I quickly dropped that idea when I realized that you have to smoke that stuff. I tried smoking when I was in college (<1 pack) and hated it. Why would I put any burning leaves in paper and inhale the smoke?

I have nothing against people smoking either weed, as long as I don't have to experience it too, but I do think our laws should be consistent. Tobacco kills half a million people a year, but we blithely condone it's use, even look the other way when children smoke it and start on a lifetime of addiction which will eventually kill them, but some parts of our society (oddly largely the same part that condones tobacco) go ballistic at the mere suggestion that we should discuss the possibility of legalizing a far less dangerous substance.

Posted by
8870 posts

Shocked! I'm shocked!

Oh wait I can't be shocked. I'm on Paxil.

Isn't it cocktail time?

Posted by
32265 posts

Amy,

To add to Kent's post, I think many in the Pacific Northwest have been aware of Rick's position on the decriminalization of Marijuana for quite some time (a position which reportedly makes his staff a bit "nervous").

Rick did an interview on KIRO (the Seattle CBS affiliate) last year in which he spoke about this issue. He also spoke about other social programs he's involved with, such as using $1M of his retirement funds to buy an apartment building in one of the Seattle suburbs, and "loaning" this to the YWCA who make the suites available to single mothers to use while they get their lives back on track.

It will be interesting to see whether his position has any influence on current drug policy, but at least he's willing to take a stand publicly on something a bit controversial even if affects his "bottom line".

Cheers!

Posted by
12040 posts

Nothing new, Rick's been saying this stuff for years.

Posted by
671 posts

Yeah, we know about it up here. He's pretty open and speaks at Hemp Fest. I am not a fan of smoking it personally, but I do agree with him on this one. (I don't agree with him on all of his politics.)

Posted by
11507 posts

Yes, I've known about this for years.

My personal opinion is that pot is NOT worse then alcohol, but, like Lee's point ,the smoke itself should be something others are not exposed to so their lungs don't have to be trashed too.

It does seem odd that pot is illegal but cigarettes and booze are.. and btw , I think Rick is more about decrimminalization, which is not exactly the same as legalizing..

No, I do not smoke pot, but I do read the paper everyday,, and I had a nickel for every car accident, fight , or domestic dispute that can be traced back to intoxication with alcohol,, well I'd ber rich.. and yes, I do drink, LOL

Posted by
588 posts

Amy, you must not read Rick's blogs or watch is tv shows. You would have known about this for years!

Posted by
959 posts

Well, I knew Rick was more liberal than myself, so I don't care to read much of his political stuff. I just want his advice on travel. BUT, on this issue I agree with him wholeheartedly!

Posted by
12172 posts

He's on the board for Norml. Personally, I think anyone who has been to Jamaica or Amsterdam (who wasn't stoned at the time) would decide legal marijuana isn't a good idea.

He's fortunate to be in a position to take a stand on the political issues of his choice. If I was in his position, I probably would to (just not the same issues).

Posted by
242 posts

"Personally, I think anyone who has been to Jamaica or Amsterdam (who wasn't stoned at the time) would decide legal marijuana isn't a good idea."

I'm just curious as to why this is? Maybe I don't get it, but I am in Amsterdam all the time and have never thought this.

Posted by
193 posts

When I was in Amsterdam there was a pretty good conversation with some of the locals on pot. I was surprised. The group we were talking to in a bar (about 8 people, males and females in their 20's and 30's)most were against the legalization. They were saying that pot has become a hard drug because of plant genetics, new hybrids, etc. and it has has made the pot of today as potent as coke, and some heroin. It's not the recreational drug that most associate with the 70's and 60's.
I find it ironic that most communities here in the US and in Europe are trying to legislate cigarette smoking out of existence (here you cannot smoke if on a public golf course!) yet they want to leagalize another form of smoking in pot.

Posted by
959 posts

Reg, I agree about the absurdity of trying to ban the crap out of cigarettes but then turning around and fighting for legalization of marijuana. That definitely doesn't make much sense. Even as a non-smoker (of both cigarettes AND marijuana!), I believe they've truly infringed on people and business owner's freedoms with all these no-smoking laws. Fine, ban smoking in cars with children or in hospitals. That is truly a health risk. But when you're banning smoking in buildings (mostly restaurants and bars) where people OPT to be, whether working there or not, that is truly going too far. I think business owners should be allowed to choose whether they have smoking in their establishment. Now I'll get off my soapbox!!!

Posted by
19169 posts

Despite all of the "weaseling" by Reg and Amy, tobacco is absolutely the worst drug in our society. I don't think anyone should have to inhale either marijuna or tabacco smoke in a public place. The same laws banning marijuana should be applied equally to tobacco, as well. Allow everyone to have it, or ban it totally. I don't care, because I don't use either, but let's be consistant.

It is ironic that this idea that people should be able to opt whether to go where tabacco is allowed is the same feeble concept that was used, also by the very same side of the political spectrum, to rationalize racial segregation.

Posted by
368 posts

I am not sure if this is the forum to talk about this kind of stuff. However Reg, your comment, or whoever you are referencing, is completely out to lunch. As a person myself who smokes neither cigarettes or marijuana and who knows SEVERAL people who have DESTROYED their lives because of coke and other hard drugs, equating with marijuana with them is negligent.

Posted by
144 posts

Hard to stay out of this for me. I if you want to toke up, that is fine, you just won't work for our company. A person that tokes up is ten times more likely to have an on-the-job injury. Even if they are not high on it at the time. I am the HR and EHS director and have been for 34 years and have a lot of experience with druggies. You can find all these statistics that say it is OK - that doesn't mean its true. The facts are the truth. Do you want your pilot to be a user? Do you want that 80,000 pound truck coming at you to be a driven by a user? We don't want someone loading explosives at one of our quarries to be a user. Our employees do not want to work with them. I am just like the person before that said he liked Rick for his travel info and not his politics. I don't think he should use his business to promote drugs or politics. You have just alienated half your customers. I love his info and outside the rest, I think he is an OK guy. The info on this site is great, and I get a lot out of it.
THanks - Bill

Posted by
11507 posts

William,, alcohol kills more people, either directly or indirectly,, it destroys lives,, and breaks families apart. It can cause aggressive violent and angry behaviour in those addicted,, but ,, pot does not.

I do not advocate using pot,, but, please, your additude is one sided,, please insert the word " alcohol" into your comments,, they will make as much sense or even more then.

Raised by an alcoholic ,, a lovely white collar one,, no one knew outside home for years,, drunks piss me off more then pot heads.

But, drinking is legal... go figure??

Posted by
345 posts

Well, just to jump in and stir it up. I think people can promote whatever viewpoints they want. After all, it's only free speech. People don't melt if they hear an idea they don't agree with or are so taken with Rick they immediately adopt his opinion as their own. I listen to him and I listen to you and I learn from it. No harm done. Rick is allowed to have other interests and opinions besides travel.

Now, this doesn't apply to cigarette smoke! The idea that working in restaurants and buildings where people smoke is "optional" may have been true when you could take the wagon train west and get free land, but modern society recognizes that employers have an obligation to provide their employees with a safe workplaces. Some people feel they have few options but to sacrifice their health for paychecks, but we no longer consider unnecessary risk to be acceptable. I'm so surprised to hear this! This used to be the battle-cry of smokers who thought their right to smoke superceded others' rights to health, safety, and consideration. I thought this argument had died long ago.

Posted by
102 posts

I disagree with you Reg, this is Rick's business and he can do with it what ever he wants to do. Obviously, he feels strongly about some issues and he has the right to talk about them. He knows he is going to loose some business over it but does not care. I admire Rick for his courage to speak out!

I do not condone any drugs but it is a very complicated issue. In this country there are tons of people in prison for drug offences. I do not think that is the answer. US incarcerates more people per capita than any other country!

Posted by
193 posts

With Linda's help I'll continue to stir the pot. I agree with William that Rick should stick with doing what he does best...guidebooks. I don't ask my Congressman for travel advice, so I don't think Rick should be offering his opinions on how to change society. Yes, it's his right, but I don't go to concerts to hear political commentary, or a pro sporting events to hear a jock's take on the social state of the country. Just because you have a microphone in front of your mouth and a "captive" audience it doesn't give a person the right to pontificate; no matter what side of the aisle you sit on.

Posted by
368 posts

What country do you live in Reg? Last time I heard it was Ricks right to say whatever he wants.

Posted by
345 posts

Well, thanks for the help stirring, I do appreciate your company.

I don't think it's his right to speak up on the issue because that would be a gross understatement of my opinion.

Rather as free citizens in a democratic country it is the duty and responsibility of each and every one of us (meaning you, me, Rick, your neighbor, etc. etc) to be well informed and opinionated on a variety of political, economic, cultural and social issues.

That's the investment we make in ourselves to be informed voters, which in turn is our duty to our country and our obligation as citizens who can vote. That is THE reason we provide free education (not job training) for our citizens. It's not just a cool freebie, like public swimming pools, it's the foundation of democracy: educated and informed voters.

You may be silent about your opinions if you wish, but I point out that the rights of a free press, our committment to public education, (which are vital to making our right to vote meaningful) are also accompanied by the freedom speech. Why is that? So the entertainment industry has constitutional protections for vulgarity? (hint: that was a very dry, not-so-funny joke) No, it's so we can have vigorous and diverse debate, yet another foundation of an informed citizenry and functioning democracy.

Rick is not prohibited from engaging in public debate any more than you are. Personally, I think it would be so, so lame if he was so limited and so shallow he had no opinions outside of travel.

Note, that I didn't actually listen to the video. Wasn't interested enough... so I don't know what he said. It doesn't matter. It's not what he said, it's the fact that speaking out on policy is the appropriate business of all citizens in a democracy. Listen and learn and agree/disagree with whomever you want.

Posted by
193 posts

Jon,

If you look a little more closely, you'll see that I wrote he has the right to do it; but that it isn't right of him to do it. Get the difference?

Posted by
671 posts

I agree that it's a turn-off- not that he speaks about outside of this travel business, but that he pulls it in to his business. For example, I went to a little travel fest in the fall where he was speaking about the latest in European travel. He started talking about the benefits of socialism, global warming, and commenting on the upcoming U.S. elections. He barely talked about travel at all. I walked out, which is also my right.

I speak out about a lot (I also mostly in agreement on legalization, although am not a smoker) but not at work.

Posted by
368 posts

Reg, you said it was not his right to pontificate. However the right to free speech and the right to pontificate in the manner he sees fit within the criminal and civil law is his choice and right. It is also your right to counter him or just ignore him in the way you see fit. Rick takes a risk in speaking out for what he believes in and that is his right and I am sure he calculated the possible financial ramifications and found the opportunity for change he believes in was worth the cost.

Posted by
193 posts

I think that this site is for travel. If Rick wants to talk about other subjects such as politics, hockey, the price of tea in China then he should maybe have a separate website for that. If Rick wants to write a book about his political leanings then fine, I just hope those ideas don't end up in his tour books. Yes, it is his site and can do whatever he wants with it, I just want it to be known that I don't appreciate it...and that is my right. BTW, I don't think he's being particularily brave taking a stand, I see it as knuckling under to prevailing thought.
My 2 cents. Good night everyone!