Reason.tv: PBS Travel Guru Rick Steves-Smoking Pot is "My Civil Liberty"

"I'm a hardworking, tax-paying, kid-raising, church-going citizen of this country," say author and PBS travel host Rick Steves, "and if I work hard all day long and want to go home and relax with a joint, that is my civil liberty."

Reason.tv caught up with Steves at Seattle Hempfest in August, where he spoke with Nick Gillespie about marijuana laws and whether his outspoken defense of legalization has effected his books sales, tour bookings, and television career.

Seattle Hempfest is an annual event that started in 1991 as a protest against the prohibition of marijuana, the commercial cultivation of non-psychoactive hemp for a variety of uses, and related issues. For 20 years, tens of thousands of people gather each summer to listen to speakers and bands and to show their support for legalizing pot and hemp products.

About 4.15 minutes. Shot by Alex Manning and edited by Meredith Bragg. 

Go to Reason.tv for HD, iPod and audio versions of this video and subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube Channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    All that pot smoking has made Rick recognize "false austerity" when he sees it.

  • ||

    All that whining about poor people and yet every other rich liberal donates their cash to "the arts."

  • O2||

    so lub-rahls donate only to the artz?

  • Abdul||

    Conservatives don't bail out failing industries, they invest in successful industries (at least industries they believe will succeed).

    Librulz feel the need to send good money after bad ideas. More often than not, they send someone else's good money.

  • ||

    Yeah! Like that Berkshire Hathaway guy. You know he's gotta be a conservative, what with him being totally the smartest investor ever and all. Or the way that conservative investors are always backing the awesomest new sciencey stuff. Stupid liberals. High five!

  • yonemoto||

    if only you knew how much fraud there is in science...

  • ||

    Intelligent design?

  • yonemoto||

  • yonemoto||

    your soul will die a little bit. Even better is this document put out by petulant research universities - wah, NIH budget isn't growing, wah, we want our money...

    http://www.damonrunyon.org/docs/brokenpipeline.pdf

    Of course, on PAGE SEVEN, is a cancer researcher who probably falsified data, definitely falsfied his work history to get his position (claimed Rhodes Scholarship) and funneled patients in to getting chemotherapies with questionable medical value and serious side effects.

  • ||

    Not quite sure what reaction you're looking for. If research is built on a house of cards, whether due to fraud or laziness or simply errors, it falls. What that has to do with conservatives' consistent record of driving civilization forward through the combination of business acumen and impeccable morality flies right over my head.

  • yonemoto||

    I'm happy to pay for fraud out of my own pocket, but I'm a fool for letting others pick mine to pay for fraud.

  • ||

    I see.

  • ||

    Wait, what?

  • ||

    So you can't read?

    "every other rich liberal"

  • ||

    I think we have established repeatedly that it can neither read nor type nor does it have a basic grasp of grammar, logic or argumentation.

    Yet people argue with it anyway, proving that it is filling an evolutionary niche. As such, it is a successful experiment in exploring the bare minimum effort it takes to troll this board.

  • ||

    It takes no effort to troll this board. In fact, it seems to take some effort to not troll this board.

  • fish||

    Indeed.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    PWND!

    or something

  • ||

    but we like to play with the monkeys! (wait, that sounds a little perverted.)

  • Gentleman Troll||

    Sigh. It vexes me that the exquisite art of trolling has fallen so dismally. There was once no high a practice as stoking the anxieties of others and offending their sensibilities without legitimate catalyst. Oh, how the web has changed.

  • Brett L||

    You forgot "get off my lawn".

  • Just Sayin'||

    It takes two to tango.

  • jasno||

    What? I thought most artists were poor.

  • Zeb||

    They are. "The arts"!="artists".

  • Isaac Bartram||

    I liked how the article mentioned that part of his donation would help the venue where Lily Tomlin and Christopher Cross would be performing.

    Like acts like that aren't profitable.

    Sort of like how we have to have PBS because no TV network would ever play Yanni or The Three Tenors.

  • Zeb||

    The funny thing is that I would have given money to public TV long ago, but they always put shit like Yanni or the 3 Tenors on for fundraising, at which point I turn the TV off (PBS is the only channel I get since digital TV came on) and promptly forget that I wanted to give them money.
    Though I do think they should stand or fail on tehir own, I find PBS to be by far the best thing on broadcast TV these days (not that that is a very high bar to clear).

  • sean||

    So it's your fave among the channels you recieve? High praise indeed!

  • Apatheist||

    Wasn't the government subsidizing/giving out for free the converters for old televisions? Take your free shit when you can get it, it is unlikely you'll ever get as much back as you put in.

  • ||

    I got my government-subsidized converter, but there are also the issues of geographic coverage and signal strength. The digital signal seems a lot more susceptible to interference than the old analog one. Stations I could pull in before with set-top rabbit ears are lost in the snow after the switch to digital. The need to bump their power and/or change their pattern to cover my area sufficiently well. I also need to invest in a serious, mast-mounted antenna with directional rotor. Even after all that, I might be able to get maybe two or three channels, and not necessarily any of them with decent fidelity.

    Digital HD TV looks good in the lab, but it needs a lot more development before reaching the level of robustness of the old, low-def, analog system. The free market resisted digital TV for a long time, with good reason. When government forced the technology down everyone's throat, the general public began to understand and appreciate how half-baked the whole scheme actually was. Maybe it will be fully baked in another ten years or so. And to be fair, without the impetus of millions of irate over-the-air customers complaining to TV stations and the FCC, the improvement might not happen anywhere near that quickly.

  • ||

    Correcting: "The need to bump" should be "The STATIONS need to bump..."

  • Ted S.||

    Christopher Cross might have been profitable 30 years ago. Nowadays, I wonder if he'd be any more marketable than, say, Air Supply or Taco.

  • Kristen||

    On my cable system we have the Create channel, which is all PBS cooking, art (Bob Ross!) and home improvement shows, all the time. It's wondrous.

  • Devil Inchoate||

    Good example of tax cuts letting you use your money as you see fit, rather than how the government wants to spend it.

  • Apatheist||

    Exactly, there are plenty of "rich" people (more like uppermiddle class and up) who are giving their tax cuts to charities and their churches and spending it on goods and services that provide jobs. They just aren't boasting about it publicly to make a retarded political argument.

  • yonemoto||

    what? There's still an upper-middle class? I thought inflation got rid of that.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    "Steve, why don't you just send that money straight to the federal government?"

    "What?!! They'll just waste it!"

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Oops, that should be Rick.

  • PantsFan||

    He also loves PBS

  • The New Professionals||

    Does he own a dog? We love dope smokers who own dogs.

  • Pantless Deviant||

    ...and who blow the smoke into the dogs' ears so they can get a "contact buzz."

  • Concerned Citizen||

    It isn't a civil right, it's a common law right. No victim, no crime. Gov't doesn't have automatic jurisdiction.

  • Commerce Clause||

    There's ALWAYS a victim!

  • fish||

    EDMONDS -- Travel TV host and publisher Rick Steves is giving $1 million to the Edmonds Center for the Arts, and he's making a political statement in doing so.

    So his complaint is that he gets to control the direction of his money instead of the government?

    I thought PBS was for smart people....evidently this guy just wandered off the street and into production.

  • Zeb||

    His shows are pretty good if you like that sort of thing.

  • ||

    They've gone downhill since he started airing conversations with Danish millionaires about how awesome socialized medicine is while sipping boat drinks on their yachts.

  • BigDaddy||

    I thought only countries with tax rates lower than ours had millionaires. Denmark's rates are much higher. Have I been had? Say it ain't so, Mitt.

  • Mariah Carey||

    PBS Travel Guru Rick Steves-Smoking Pot is "My Civil Liberty"

    Mine is turning off the teevee whe Rick Steves comes on.

  • ||

    It doesn't include not paying for the channel, however.

  • CPS||

    "I'm a hardworking, tax-paying, kid-raising, church-going citizen of this country," say author and PBS travel host Rick Steves, "and if I work hard all day long and want to go home and relax with a joint, that is my civil liberty."

    Mr. Steves, we are here to collect your children. You will have no visitation rights until you pee clean.

  • Barack Obama||

    Let me be clear.

    ^^THIS^^, and "Fuck you!"

  • ||

    affected not effected

  • Citizen Nothing||

    He donated a million bucks?
    A "travel guru" can make that kind of jack on public TV? Jesus, did I pick the wrong medium.

  • ||

    He's got DVDs, books, and, of course, a lucrative travel guide business.

  • ed||

    He's a successful, self-employed businessman who speaks rationally and eloquently in favor of marijuana reform. Good for him.

  • Tim||

    If by "travel guru" you mean "smuggler", then certainly.

  • BakedPenguin||

    What ed said. Good for him.

  • ||

    Rick Steves is one of the two guys whose professional careers I am truly jealous of. The other is Harry Shearer.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    It's because you've always wanted to whisper sweet nothings to Marcia Wallace, isn't it?

  • Kristen||

    No, he's always wanted to wear the Derek Smalls costume.

  • Off-Topic||

    Gallup: Uninsured Have Increased Under Obama and Since Obamacare Was Enacted

    The percentage of American adults who lack health insurance coverage has not only increased during the presidency of Barack Obama, but it has continued to increase since Obama signed his signature piece of legislation last year mandating that by 2014 every American carry health insurance, according to a Gallup survey released today.

    In 2008, when George W. Bush was president, according to Gallup, 14.9 percent of adult residents of the United States lacked health insurance coverage. That increased to 16.2 percent in 2009, the year that Obama was inaugurated, and to 16.4 percent in 2010, the year that Obama signed his law requiring that all Americans have health insurance.

    In the first half of this year, according to data released by Gallup today, the percentage of adults in the United States lacking health insurance ticked up to 16.8 percent.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/ar.....d-under-ob

  • Zeb||

    That might have more to do with increasing unemployment than Obamacare.

  • ||

    If they can use post hoc ergo propter hoc reasoning to support their job saving and creation claims, the same reasoning is valid in blaming them for stealing American jobs.

  • Sudden||

    Well, considering that the unofficial unemployment is ~18%, that makes sense.

    Look, I detest PPACA as much as the next libertarian, but let's at least be intellectually honest about why the increase in uninsured occurred: in a system where generally your employer covers your health insurance, increases in unemployment invariably lead to increases in the percentage uninsured. Its a perverse system where people's insurance is tied to their career.

  • ||

    Its a perverse system where people's insurance is tied to their career.


    If anyone talks about "reforming health care" without mentioning separating employment from medical coverage as one of their first items, I know they're are not really serious.

  • Amen to that||

    Really flies in the face of a free labor market, doesn't it?

  • ||

    If anyone talks about "reforming health care" without also articulating a goal that routine, non-catastrophic healthcare should be affordable, out-of-pocket, to people across the income spectrum -- NO INSURANCE OR "HEALTH PLAN" NECESSARY -- I know that they are neither serious nor possessing of enough understanding of the problem to make a net positive difference. Insurance is the tail that wags the dog, thanks to government interference in the economy circa WWII and going forward. It should definitely be a backseat passenger, instead of the driver, of the healthcare bus.

  • ||

    Excellent point and I absolutely concur.

    And that usually will come up when I talk to people about the subject, and guess what. They're horrified, they can't imagine such a thing.

  • yonemoto||

    actually the silver lining in PPACA is that it will actually largely divorce individuals from their work-coverage plans. It also helps that obama is going to make so many more people unemployed.

  • Tim||

    Just learned that ome former neighbors of mine got busted growing pot by the ARMY overflights. 25 plants outdoors and some grow stuff in the basement. Of course they gave the police permission to search without a warrant. Now they are looking at loosing home and business (a small mom and pop stoe) over this.

  • Burt||

    They knew the risks.

  • The Police||

    Yes. Yes, we did.

    But we searched anyway.

    You're welcome.

  • yonemoto||

    at least they weren't caught by the spy cams hiding in the chemtrails.

  • Fluffy||

    I think we wore out the topic of Rick Steves the other time we had a Rick Steves discussion.

    That being said, what's up with this guy being able to give out million dollar gifts? On his show he looks like he shops at Goodwill and the oddlot dumpster at the LL Bean outlet.

    If he's got that kind of money the least he could do is buy clothes that fit and maybe spring for a gym membership and LASIK.

  • ||

    You mean you can get rich without spending all your money on stupid shit like fancy clothes? Who knew...

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Sure, and Michael Moore could ditch the ball caps, get a real haircut, shave that pelt on his face that STEVE SMITH would be proud of, and go to Cuba for a gastric bypass.

    I assume this doesn't happen because they are trying to maintain an image for their fans.

  • JMW||

    Nothing says "I'm one of you people" quite like wearing common man chic.

  • DEA||

    This guy has a $1M to give away and he implies that he uses Marijuana. What property can we seize based on this...

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Typical liberal douche who's been to Amsterdam. ;)

  • JCR||

    I read part of "Travel as a Political Act."

    What I read was nothing but leftist pap.

    I will not watch his show, buy his books, or make a contribution to any PBS station that airs his show. For that matter I refuse to make a contribution to any PBS station as long as they receive any federal funding.

  • WWJGD||

    I'm about halfway through this book and...yeah, I'm about to the same place JCR is.

  • Ice Nine||

    What not watching his show and not reading his books will do for you is let you avoid the lines of people trying to get lodging in the pensions and hotels he recommends.

  • PantsFan||

    Winnipeg Jets unveil new jerseys
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/.....seys-.html

  • Burt||

    Those are some funny looking football uniforms.

  • Brett L||

    What exit is Winnipeg at in New Jersey? At least they gave up the fiction of being in NY. (tongue firmly in cheek)

  • Brett L||

    Jeebus, they got the three most Canadian looking guys on the team to model the jerseys, didn't they?

  • JMW||

    Given how many NHLers are Canadian they didn't have to look too hard to find them.

    Logo looks like someone parked a jet silhouette onto the centre of a curling house.

  • Howard||

    I pretty much stopped listening to anything Rick Steves had to say after he included a subscription offer for The Nation in his newsletter about seven years ago.

  • Just Sayin'||

    There are all kinds of crappy, dubious ads on this-here site.

  • ||

    i read the nation. not because i agree with the POV but because it is a reliable indicator of how progressives think and what they think. that's helpful.

  • Just Sayin'||

    Yeah. That's why I still try to get my aged parents to explore other news channels besides FOX. They refuse.

  • Howard||

    This wasn't an ad, but came complete with a personal note imploring one to subscribe.

  • Jeff||

    This is the same guy who showed us how happy Iranian women are with their oppression, right?

  • Saw It||

    Wrong. The women spoke as freely as they dared, given the reality of contemporary Iranian cultural mores. Steves handles political issues fairly evenhandedly, being careful not to editorialize. Some would call this a shortcoming. I don't. He's a travel guide, not a pundit.

  • Jeff||

    That was a rhetorical question. I saw it, too. Let's be honest: Steves editorializes all the time. He has to change his underwear after every mention of free health care in Europe. And he definitely believes there would be no more war if only all Americans traveled to the Middle East to have tea with a few nomadic peasants.

    But that's OK, because his biases are obvious. As long as my tax dollars pay for tour guides, they may as well be good. And he is a damn fine one.

  • Howard||

    I, too, read sources of news and opinion from different points of view, however that doesn't mean I want my travel writer using his platform to push his political opinions or favorite magazine.

  • -||

    Poor baby. I suggest a long nap.

  • kicksneakerboxes||

    good

  • ||

    Awesome way to book your hotels - MyDeals247.com - it is not like a regular hotel booking sites - totally real-time offers - get top 5 lowest offers.

    Watch this video => http://www.youtube.com/embed/7F6PWti24x0

  • ||

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement