Last updated on: 1/13/2018 | Author:

Rick Steves Biography

Television Host and Travel Writer
Pro to the question "Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal?"

“Seventy-thousand people are locked up in our country every year; 700,000 people are arrested for possession of marijuana—non-violent crimes—they’re not rich white guys; they’re poor people, and they’re black people…

We’ve got to take the crime out of the equation and treat marijuana as a health challenge and an education challenge. Marijuana is a drug. It’s not good for you, it can be abused. And it’s here today and it’s going to be here tomorrow. What we need to do is take that black market down and turn it into a highly regulated and highly taxed legal market, so that we can gain credibility and focus on the real risk to young people in our society which is hard drug abuse…

It’s 2017. We know what happens when we legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Use does not go up, teen use does not go up, DUIs don’t go up, crime doesn’t go up. The only thing that goes up is tax revenue. In my state [Washington], we have 300 million dollars this year in tax revenue…

We’ve taken a black market, which was empowering and enriching organized crime and games, and we’ve dismantled it. We’ve turned it into a highly regulated, highly taxed legal market, employing 26,000 people, especially in rural areas where we can use the employment.

We’ve been able to redirect precious law enforcement resources away from petty pot issues and on to serious crime.”

Statement during a press conference in Chicago on Nov. 28, 2017, video available on the Illinois chapter of NORML Facebook page at

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Founder, Rick Steves’ Europe, 1976-present
  • Radio host, Travel with Rick Steves
  • Television host, Rick Steves’ Europe
  • Syndicated columnist, Tribune Media Services
  • Board Member, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
  • BA, European History and Business Administration, University of Washington
  • Supported Initiative 502 in the state of Washington in 2012, which legalized recreational marijuana.
  • Author of more than 50 European travel books
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal?