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Rick Steves to back legalizing marijuana in Illinois

Monday, Nov 27, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I love his books and his show, so this is interesting to me…

Travel guru Rick Steves will visit Illinois on Tuesday to advocate for legislation to make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol. Steves will join Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and House Committee on Public Safety and Appropriations Chairwoman Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) for a news conference on Tuesday morning to discuss why Illinois lawmakers should support regulating and taxing marijuana. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. CT in the James R. Thompson Center Blue Room on the 15th floor.

Directly following the news conference, Steves will testify across the street at a joint hearing of several committees of the Illinois General Assembly regarding economic opportunities following cannabis legalization. This hearing will take place at 10 a.m. in the Michael A. Bilandic Building on the 6th floor in Room C600. […]

SB 316 and HB 2353, introduced by Chairwomen Steans and Cassidy, would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess, grow, and purchase limited amounts of marijuana. The state would license and regulate businesses to cultivate, process, test, and sell marijuana to adults, and it would create and enforce strict health and safety regulations, such as testing and labeling requirements and restrictions on marketing.



  1. - Montrose - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 11:49 am:

    I love me some Rick Steves too. Is he going to take key legislators on a fact finding trip to Amsterdam?

  2. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    ===Is he going to take key legislators on a fact finding trip to Amsterdam? ===

    One of the cleanest, most pleasant cities I’ve ever visited.

  3. - ChrisB - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    I have a friend who went to college with his kid. Rick is a BIG…proponent…of this legislation.

  4. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    Netherlands . Sales tax on food. 6%. VAT .21%. That maryjeewanna tax works wonders. Legalize it and dont tax it.

  5. - Saluki - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    Rick Steves? Reminds me of Frank Thomas hawking Vitamins for GNC, just without the star power..or a healthy product.

  6. - KSDinCU - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    Steves has been doing this for quite a while–he worked on the legalization efforts in Washington and in Massachusetts. I love this quote: “I’m a travel writer. I love to travel. For me ‘high’ is a place — sometimes I like to go there,” Steves told a crowd at Amherst, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette. “If my government says I can’t go there, there had better be a good reason — and there’s not.”

  7. - c.w. - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    He was one of the driving forces in Oregon’s legalization push.

  8. - Harpy - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    About time for Illinois to legalize. I grew up in the late 60s and early 70s. Got in a lot more trouble with alcohol than I did with marijuana.

  9. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    That “joint” hearing of committees should be fun.

  10. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:00 pm:

    Rick Steves walks it like he talks it.

    He financed out of his own pocket a $4M apartment complex for homeless women and their children called Trinity Way (catch the reference?), then donated it to the YWCA.

    That’s a lot more true to the Gospels than some government-subsidized, money-losing Noah’s Ark boondoggle like that alleged holy man grifter foisted on the taxpayers of Kentucky.

  11. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:00 pm:

    This explains a lot. His videos do have kind of a sleepy feel to them. Which is why they fit perfectly on PBS.

  12. - Langhorne - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    Is there any possibility we can legalize it, without choking it to death w regulations, and expenses, like med mar?

  13. - Perrid - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but it annoys me that people always point to alcohol when arguing for legalization, as if it is harmless. A fairly reasonable response to that argument, that we should legalize marijuana because it is no worse (probably better) than alcohol, is that we should have more restrictions on alcohol, not less on pot. I know that it’s been tried and didn’t work that great, I get that everyone likes it, I get that the majority of people drink fairly responsibly, but alcohol is a very low bar to measure against.

  14. - PJ - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    ===always point to alcohol when arguing for legalization, as if it is harmless===

    No one claims alcohol is harmless. But by any measure marijuana is safer. You either have to be pro-prohibition of both substances or be for allowing both. It’s simply not rational or logically consistent to be in favor of legal alcohol and illegal pot.

  15. - OneMan - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    From Rick Steves’ Europe…

    The castles of Mad King Ludwig II are the best castles to visit in Europe, but if you can’t make it there have you ever just looked at your hands, I mean really looked at them?

  16. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    ===we should have more restrictions on alcohol, not less on pot===

    Yeah, go with that one. Right.

  17. - City Zen - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:34 pm:

    Does Rick get to write-off his purchases as a business expense?

    Where does the cast of “This Old House” stand on this matter?

  18. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:37 pm:

    I also enjoy Rick Steves’ work and appreciate his efforts to take this massive and lucrative industry out of the black market and into the world of legitimate business and tax revenue.

    As far as legal recreational sales, it’s very legit and responsible. When going into stores, adults first have to give the staff their ID’s and wait in a waiting room before being allowed entry into the actual store. This is the case in multiple states. It’s more carefully done than selling alcohol, which is far more harmful.

    I have no problem in general with tight regulations in a legal marijuana market, such as child-proof packaging, purchase quantity limits, having to get clearance to enter stores, etc. I would like to see a legal market that is based on responsible adult use in Illinois.

  19. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    What we should tax is this Christmas Spirit thing. It gets Mrs Blue all goofey and its not even December. Something this potent cant be any good for you.

  20. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    – we should have more restrictions on alcohol–

    The organized crime lobby chimes in. That worked swell only for them last time.

    Busting up the government created, clouted, med mar monopoly in this state won’t be easy.

    But I’d recommend citizens look to the hundreds of mom-and-pop small businesses that sprang up in Washington state as a model for weed legalization.

  21. - a drop in - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:47 pm:

    I am concerned about what standard would be used for driving impaired. MJ can be detected in bloodstream for days after use.

  22. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    LOL OneMan. If only Bob Ross was still with us. “And you thought the trees were happy BEFORE.”

  23. - ImNotTaylorSwift - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:56 pm:

    ===we should have more restrictions on alcohol===

    I actually partially agree with @Perrid on this one, but really only insofar as advertisement is concerned. I think we can safely cut down on that and still let everyone enjoy their booze. The ads and the glamorization of alcohol make it tough to be a recovering alcoholic in this country.

    To the post: the sponsorship of this legislation makes me proud to be in Cassidy’s and Steans’ districts.

  24. - frisbee - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 12:57 pm:

    If Rauner is so pro business why can’t he support this? I know that Uline has right on their website that they don’t support legalization and have funded Rauner before, but the Governor should really get out front on this issue for all the business chops he proclaims.

  25. - Johnnie F - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 1:04 pm:

    Have loved every Rick Steves inspired trip I’ve ever followed, and now that includes trips that don’t leave the farm. Thanks Rick!

  26. - Just Observing - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 1:07 pm:

    Why are we still debating marijuana legalization in 2017? It’s going to happen whether in 2019 or 2029. Let’ get on with it already.

  27. - ste_with_a_v_en - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 1:15 pm:

    “Why are we still debating marijuana legalization in 2017? It’s going to happen whether in 2019 or 2029. Let’ get on with it already”

    Not if Gov. Ives has her way.

  28. - VanillaMan - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 1:17 pm:

    Rick Steves is not an expert. He is a guy who travels and writes about traveling. He enjoys cultures like a missionary from 1890. He doesn’t live in them, he flits around them.

    He isn’t an anthropologist, a scientist, a doctor, a woman working the Reeperbahn, a parents of an addict, a strugglinv single mom trying to keep her son out of a drug gang, or even an airline pilot.

    He is to recreational marijuana what global warming is to Bill Nye - whose not a science guy.

    Put that in hour pipe and smoke it - travel boy.

  29. - James Knell - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    From the beginning I have been vocally opposed to shift of state budgets from funding colleges & universities to funding mass incarceration.

    I’m also tried of so many smart young people moving west because they don’t like the drug war and other social norms of the Reagan Era. I stayed because of my parents and I do really like it here. But it seems so darn geriatric sometimes… the region of Rauner, Walker, Pence, and Snyder and there libertarian billionaire backers. Ick.

  30. - Amalia - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 1:25 pm:

    Oh, I love Rick Steves. His advice is spot on and was so valuable for a trip to Europe. I believe he is a great advocate for the issue as he travels the world and observes cultures that make pot legal so he can inform. Also, he is as steady and middle of the road as you can find a person. Optimistic but not over the top. Mellow guy. Not how one might picture such advocates. oh to watch those hearings.

  31. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    ==Rick Steves is not an expert. ==

    Maybe not. But he can certainly testify about his experiences in places where it is legal.

    Get over yourself.

  32. - Curl of the Burl - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    New idea for a coffee table book: a pictorial of Rick Steeves smoking pot in various foreign countries and then over-indulging in local food delicacies.

  33. - Ben Johnson - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 1:41 pm:

    I am 61 and have been consuming cannabis off and on for over 43 years. I am a husband, father, electrical engineer, successful business owner, musician, community volunteer and marathon runner. I never use alcoholic beverages or tobacco products. My health is excellent, and my memory is intact. I vaporize cannabis, no smoke, no smell, no problems. I finished my third marathon at Big Sur Marathon in April 1st place in my division (TYVM) with a finish time of 3 hours, 25 minutes and 8 seconds. I’m just one of Millions of health conscious Americans seeking the healthiest pathways forward in all aspects of my life. How long before the government quits lying to us and admits that cannabis is far safer than alcoholic beverages or tobacco?


  34. - VanillaMan - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 3:46 pm:

    ==Maybe not. But he can certainly testify about his experiences in places where it is legal==

    So can millions of other people.

    He appeals to PBS boomers who see him as some kind of an expert in a field he is less qualified to speak about than Ozzy Osborne.

  35. - Baloneymous - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 4:01 pm:


    So would you say that Willy Nelson and Tommy Chong are suitable experts? Woody Harrelson maybe?

  36. - Baloneymous - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 4:05 pm:

    Also I’m certain Ozzy was more of a booze and coke guy, so not sure what reference you were even trying to make

  37. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 4:27 pm:

    ==Also I’m certain Ozzy was more of a booze and coke guy,–

    LSD, a true daily tripper, for years.

  38. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 27, 17 @ 8:00 pm:

    Surprised. He is the nerdy travel guy.

    Shouldn’t we legalize fireworks as well?

  39. - Lumberjack - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 3:02 am:

    It is really happening. Unfortunately, I most likely will be leaving to Portland; pain in my sinuses / headaches getting unbearable. Job situation = many short assignments = frequent testing. I can be free in Oregon, truly free. I wanter how long after legalization will Illinois progress for MJ to be ILLEGAL to test for on employment drug tests. 5 years? 10?

  40. - anon2 - Tuesday, Nov 28, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    It would be better for society to regulate marijuana like tobacco, not alcohol. That’s because though cigarettes are legal, social disapproval is rising while usage is dropping.

    Regulating like alcohol, by contrast, would mean aggressive marketing to maximize consumption and profits.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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