Barnstorming My Way Through North Dakota and Michigan

Photo via the Forum News Service.

What am I doing toting my hemp bag through Fargo, North Dakota? Helping that state realize that our wrongheaded laws against marijuana are causing more harm to our society than the plant those laws were designed to protect us from.


rick steves holding a "yes on 3" pamphlet in front of a bronze statue that is of a newspaper boy who is hollering and holding a newspaper that has the word "TRUTH" written on it very largely


I spent last week in North Dakota and Michigan, barnstorming for campaigns to legalize marijuana — just as I did in 2012 in Washington State, in 2014 in Oregon, in 2016 in Massachusetts and Maine, and earlier this year in D.C., Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Vermont. And just like usual, I was met with opposition by what I call the “PPP,” or “Pot Prohibition Profiteers”: corporations that make money when pot is kept illegal (pharmaceutical companies, big beer conglomerates, and so on). They help fund campaigns that have goofy names (“Healthy and Productive Michigan”) and share messages that confuse and deceive voters.


anti-rick steves michigan ad marijuana


Even the name “Healthy and Productive Michigan” is deceptive, as it implies that states that legalize are less healthy and less productive — which makes no sense, when you consider that Washington and Colorado have two of the hottest economies in the USA. The group also claimed, dishonestly, that I’m representing the “Big Marijuana” industry. That’s simply a lie. I’m traveling on my own dime and promoting civil liberties, the end of a failed prohibition, and a non-racist public safety approach to drug policy. (I am no friend of “Big Marijuana.”)

And if you’re not convinced by the eight states that are happy they legalized marijuana for human beings…you can always point to the dogs and cats that might get high eating their owners’ edibles as a justification for locking up poor people and people of color for nonviolent marijuana possession “crimes.”


ad that says "I care for animals. I will vote no on legalizing recreational marijuana" and a boy is holding a dog