What I’ve Learned

Rick Steves - NORML Board MemberI’ve worked hard to help legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for adult recreational use in Washington State (where I live) and in Oregon. I was proud of these laws; they won because they were what I consider “public safety” laws — rather than “pro-pot” laws — and our communities are thankful they passed. California is voting on an even smarter law this November and when this passes, I believe the country will follow and our federal government’s long and stubborn war on marijuana will be history. California is critical in the battle to end the wrong-minded prohibition of our age.

That’s why I support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. This is smart, sensible policy that ends damaging prohibition and paves the path to a sensible marijuana policy in California. It respects the concerns of people who don’t smoke pot, of law enforcement, of employers, and of families with children. It’s not radical; it’s pragmatic…it’s common sense…and it’s time.

Those who wrote California’s “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act” learned from our experience in Washington (2012) and Oregon (2014). This smart law is a major step in ending this war on marijuana. And we need your help to pass it.

But we can’t make this happen without your help. Please, show your support in these early stages. It’s simple really: Just sign up today and endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act!

This isn’t about being “soft” on drugs or “hard” on drugs. This is about being smart — and controlling and regulating marijuana the right way.

Through my travels in Europe, I’ve learned that pragmatic harm reduction makes much more sense than legislating morality. And I believe in civil liberties. Responsible adults should be able to use marijuana, just as they can use alcohol. And my travels and our track record here in the Northwest have taught me that we can build a system of marijuana control and regulation that works. European countries manage an approach that protects children, keeps their roads safe, respects the rights and concerns of employers, spends fewer tax dollars, and solves health problems. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a smart, measured and balanced approach that can do the same thing.

Please, join me in supporting California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act and we’ll make huge progress on the national movement.

24 thoughts

  1. I think we need to have a conversation with the permanently disabled population and find out what is working and what is not working with the MMJ application and renewal process. 40 bucks a year (plus paperwork) for the right to be able to buy higher dosage in Colorado is not very “doable” when you are govt. funded. Having the Colo. Red Card is more of a status symbol that is not very handy for those who truly need but can’t afford the oils because the application fee will put them further in the hole. Then there is the patient transparency to think of…

  2. I’m sorry Steve but I really don’t agree that the CA AUMA is smart. It is far too restrictive and continues many arbitrary unnecessary rules.

    Possession of alcohol in or out of the house is not restricted at all, yet this possess one oz of marijuana persists. WHY?

    All these rules about 6 plants per residence etc. WHY? WHY 6? What is the significance of that number? I can have as many grape vines as I want and they don’t have to be hidden from public view.

    California already has a 900 lb gorilla in the form of the biggest and most deeply entrenched black market AND medical market. Many of these rules are a step BACKWARDS done to appease people who don’t use and don’t like cannabis. We’ve suffered under their oppression for decades. AUMA continues and codifies much of that.

    I have been a deeply involved member of the cannabis culture in CA since 1978 and I could do a WAY better job of constructing regulations. There’s far too much micromanagement in AUMA. That just creates a new set of headaches rather than ending them.

    [Editor’s note: Too bad that folks like yourself (“deeply involved member of the cannabis culture in CA since 1978”), and millions of other cannabis consumers in the state, have historically succeeded little-to-nothing to actually end cannabis prohibition in CA as ALL of the major reforms that have happened in the state circa 1996 were paid for by donations from three out-of-state billionaires and run by non-CA managers from NYC and Washington, DC.

    Other than TX transplant and ‘Oaksterdam’ founder Richard Lee in 2010 funding Prop 19 from the profits of his medical cannabis-related businesses, CA citizens (and almost no cannabis-related businesses or ‘collectives’) historically have done little to actually end cannabis prohibition.

    AUMA is funded by CA citizens and managed by in-state. AUMA is going to make the ballot and not voting for it as a cannabis consumer, producer or seller is an unwise endeavor as the initiative ends cannabis prohibition in America’s most important state. The restrictions proposed under AUMA are hardly much different than the current ones in states like CO, WA and OR.

    Voting to keep cannabis prohibition going because one perceives the successful actions of actual reformers as not being ideal is short-sighted and self-inflicting.]

    1. If you want a perfect law with no limitations on possession/personal growing/whatever else, feel free to invent a time machine and travel into the future. This is a superior alternative to the current system in CA, and whining that it isn’t 100% to your liking isn’t going to help end this ridiculous prohibition any sooner.

      Dick in Boston is right: perfect is the enemy of good. If it stops the police from harassing law-abiding citizens for growing a few plants in their home, whilst expediting nationwide legalization, that’s more than good enough for now.

      1. Eveyone is not at the same place in their civil mindedness. Sometimes legislation moves slowly to catch up to present public views. concessions may be nessesary to ease law reformation at first. Rest assurred “vox populi vox dae”

  3. OK! I clicked and signed up to endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

    Another blow against the empire!

    More easy armchair activism made possible through this NORML website.

  4. Signed. Thank you! For the opportunity and for the critical leadership and momentum you brought from Washington to Oregon and now, eyes on the prize, the great state of California. Rick Steves, you will be remembered in stories to my grandchildren as the softspoken General of Marijuana Legalization that conquered the west!

    Ok, now enough with the charm; WHEN are you going to produce a Rick Steve’s World Cannabis History? C’mon! Expand from Europe! Take us from the Himalayan mountains to my little brother’s doorstep in Austin TX to explain the coevolution of human kind with cannabis and the birth of all major religions! Teach us about Hemp for Victory while standing in a hemp harvest in Kentucky! Take us through China from cannabis found in 10,000 year old ancient burials to the end of the last Chinese dynasty after newly introduced corn and sweet potatoes sent peasants uphill to avoid taxes and clear cut the hemp on hilltops, eroding the soil and wiping out the rice heartland of the economy, creating the police state-Communism we see their today, culminating into Nixon’s visit to bring back the police state to the U.S. through the Controlled Substances Act of 1970! (Whew… Ok, that last part might be a three part series, but you get the drill! 😉 )
    Love ya, man! Thanks so much!

    1. Heh, I like this idea, being a fan of documentaries. Maybe we should try to get Ken Burns to do it. There seemed to be some hints of comparison to cannabis prohibition in his “short” (for him) documentary about alcohol prohibition: Prohibition (2011). This subject could easily be 10+ hour-long episodes. Perhaps crowdfund it with a percentage of the funding going towards cannabis education. (Personally, I contribute to the political action half when I’m able to, but the education half would be more conciliatory towards people who may be on the fence about whether cannabis summons demons or whether cannabis is a natural medicine.)


  5. Rick,
    Thank you for speaking the truth about the lies that our leaders have used to turn a large percentage of our population into the “other” who they harass, prosecute, imprison and kill.

  6. California is different than Washington and Oregon. You did good in the north. What your beliefs and primary concerns were, won’t get far down here.

    AUMA is an extension of prohibition.

    If anything it solidifies the inhumane strangle-hold on marijuana moralities. There’s no improvement for the people who live the cannabis culture. If at all, it allows prohibitionists to drive the hatred deeper into government.

    There is no point in writing pages of regulations when the freedom of medical treatment choices is the intended goal.

    We need better than AUMA.

    [Editor’s note: “AUMA is an extension of prohibition.” Pretty hard to construe a legalization initiative endorsed by all the major cannabis law reform organizations as an extension of prohibition.

    “If anything it solidifies the inhumane strangle-hold on marijuana moralities.”

    Your characterizations are pure hyperbole. You know who are good at genuine strangleholds? DEA raiders and narcs…and they’ll still be calling the shots if CA reject legalization, again.

    “There’s no improvement for the people who live the cannabis culture.”

    If your major concern is to continue living in a criminal subculture, then cannabis legalization in any form is going to be an anathema, but such is not a good reason to maintain a failed public policy like cannabis prohibition.

    Cannabis culture thrived under prohibition, it will only continue to grow post cannabis prohibition. Voting to maintain criminal prohibition for cannabis in CA is the opposite of seeking to improve peoples’ lives who interact with the plant.]

  7. Rick Steves, wollen Sie den Potumenarfilm nicht machen?

    What do you say, Rick Steves?


    PS Das nächste Mal, dass Sie etwas in einem deutschsprachigem Land drehen, bitte denken Sie mal an mich. Wenn Sie wollen, schicke ich Ihnen eine Einladung in LinkedIn.

    When it comes to overseas travel videos, well, Rick, you’re THE BEST! We see these news articles about cannabis laws in different countries, but not really a drumbeat of koffieshops, closed cannabis clubs anonymously perhaps reported on in Barcelona, Czech Republic, Slovenia, elsewhere. I remember a long time ago something about cannabis being cultivated widespread in Greece. Italy wants to. Swiss situation. And, a bit of Colin Davies, Marc Emery, as you wish.

  8. Yes, do Julian’s Heimalayan Hemp History Hitchhike, as a guidebook and maybe also real tours for us busbound oldies!

    Thanks Rick, I know you put in lots of handfinger labor time on the guidebooks smartening up travelers and the other projects, so it rings true when you say Pragmatic, I think you could do a great job on the following PEM pragmatic emergency mission (10 million kids a year worldwide get hooked on hot burning overdose monoxide paperrollup $igarettes, half predicted to live illness-ridden, shortened lives).

    Check out the inadequately illustrated (hopefully soon better) free wiki article, “12 Easy Ways to Make Flexdrawtube Vapetoke Utensils from $1.29 Worth of Parts Left Lying Around in Your Garage by a Previous God”. Steal, adapt, republish, promote the top two sections, “Socket Wrench One-Hitter” and “Barbed Hose Nipple One-hitter” as needed to cause

    (a) a Harm Reduction SUBSTITUTION of 25-mg-serving-size slowdraw single tokes for 700-mg $igarette, 500-mg Joint, 450-mg Beedi etc. as the way youngsters experiment (yes they do) with $moking,

    (b) Substitute Vapetoke for $moking– Learn not Burn, Slow, don’t Glow. Eliminate carbon monoxide stoner symptoms from the discussion over merits or dangers of cannabis.

    (c) Substitute sifted Cannabis– and Alfalfa, Basil, Chamomile, Damiana, Dandelion, Eucalyptus etc.– for Tobacco (see Wikiversity: “Smoking cessation– Herbal Alternatives”).

    Hope the Initiative passes, meanwhile one adjustment: Instead of “protecting” young persons from contact with cannabis, they should be protected from culturally-induced overdose (2 centuries of Advertising with pictures of $igarette and Joint) of any substance by educating them for life against ever being ignorant of how to Vape with a one-heater! This effectively guarantees immunity from any hazards of cannabis, tobacco or any herb (alfalfa, etc.).

  9. The suppression of productive discourse is a poor tactic contrary or not while civil. Then to represent a group of people who have lived tolerant life’s who are generally free thinkers and peaceful in general? Seems remaining civil and supporting an individual’s right to voice a dissenting opinion is as basic as people’s medical needs in scope of civil liberty. People do not wish to be meddled with. Everyone’s needs can be met with parity the a better world this will be. Peace

  10. Everyone’s needs can be met then a better world this will be. It is prohibitive in nature to not consider dissention. Is a big principle to as it effects needs and quality of life. The science is behind the benigness and usefulness of cannabis. The current business models of medicine and dispensaries here in Colorado are socioeconomic disparaging and ignoring the reality through administrative sleight of hand and denial of meaningful services in bias. Yet the blue law profiteers ,multiple generations of btw, are legit. The healthcare and pharma are entrenched in medical services as insurance money is too. their resistance is institutionalized by administrative means and sop. Our government has lied to the American people since the 70’s and treat us as incompetent children after the insult of being criminalized through the draconian moral laws. Manifest destiny Judging types are not likely to simply let go. History is filled with people’s they assimilate violently. Time to show em the door for sanity sake. Their reality for us has not been treating the rest of this world too darn well either.

  11. Steve, Thank you for the decades of inspiration. When I miss the road I watch an episode to quell the beast. $15 in the kitty

  12. Thanks for the travel tips and sites my man. Keep up the good work and continue to show the truth. The Melgren Experiments showed how easy it is to get the innocent to produce your evil.

    1. Mark I., WTF? “Produce your evil?”
      I hope I’m misinterpreting your contradicting jab as inappropriate sarcasm. Because if you’re using The Melgren Experiments to call either Rick’s career as travel guide or his endorsement of AUMA as some kind of pavlov effect to evil, then that would make you one of those rats that keeps getting fed the two pellets. You’re gonna lose that race, brother. (Hint: AUMA’s got more pellets! And they lead you outside of the maze on a path to rat-freedom!)

  13. I’m grateful to see NORML Editors taking good time to refute and correct the disappointing party-poopers on this serious topic. (Of course, I had already joined & donated to Mr Steeves’ cause before I could finish reading the article)

    We mustn’t squander this fleeting opportunity to demonstrate to Senator Feinstein that FDR and Nixon should be posthumously prosecuted in criminal court for having outlawed the wall art.

  14. Norml needs to help Louisiana get to where Colorado is far as the marijuana law goes…we the people want and need this .

  15. Right here is the perfect website for everyone who would like to find
    out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that
    I actually would want to?HaHa). You certainly put
    a brand new spin on a subject that has been written about for
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