Rick Steves is taking the marijuana legalization battle to Congress
The television host and travel author will be in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to support legislation to federally legalize marijuana
Steves will speak at a series of Congressional briefings alongside the advocacy groups Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Steves and company intend to highlight the positive results from states that have successfully regulated marijuana in order to convince lawmakers to support states’ rights on the issue.
Steves is a long-time proponent of cannabis law reform, and has been a major force in normalizing its use. More often known as the mild-mannered host of the massively popular PBS show Rick Steves’ Europe and author of several best-selling travel guides, he was instrumental in legalizing marijuana in his hometown of Washington state in 2012, and has continued to buck the stoner stereotype since then.
His presence in Capitol Hill comes merely months after testifying to Illinois legislators about cannabis law reform.
“When you legalize marijuana, use does not go up,” Steves said in the 2017 hearing. “Crime does not go up. What goes up is tax revenue, and what goes down is the black market.”
Marijuana is legal in either medical or recreational form in 30 states, with Vermont joining the list this year. But that multitude of progress is now threatened by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has vocally opposed legalizing cannabis for all uses.
“I cannot and will not pretend that a duly enacted law of this country — like the federal ban on marijuana — does not exist,” said Sessions on Monday in a written remark to the National Sheriffs’ Association. “Marijuana is illegal in the United States — even in Colorado, California, and everywhere else in America. “
Steves will be present at two separate briefings for the Senate as well as the House of Representatives. The House briefing was organized in cooperation with the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, a group of representatives from states that have made marijuana legal for adults and who support reforming federal marijuana laws.
The Senate briefing begins at 11:45 a.m. ET, while the House briefing is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET.