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Marijuana and Civil Rights in America: A European Perspective

Lecture Center for Global Humanities Lecture Series

Rick Steves

Rick Steves

Please note that the Center for Global Humanities is providing an academic forum on this topic. Neither the Center nor the University has a position on Question 1, the legalization of marijuana.

Renowned travel writer and public television host Rick Steves shows that U.S. promotion of marijuana is strikingly similar to the prohibition on alcohol during the 1930s — ineffective, wasteful and counter–productive. He will argue that a European perspective on the issue offers some possible alternatives — alternatives which may seem radical to people in the United States — but which have been proven to work. While emphasizing that he is not in favor of drug use by anyone, Rick Steves believes that the European emphasis on harm reduction — rather than criminalization — offers a possible way forward for the U.S. In a way, this comparative approach is a good illustration of Steves’ belief that thoughtful travel can inspire creative new solutions to persistent problems.

This is not a Seminar Series event.


Guidebook author and travel TV host, Rick Steves is America's most respected authority on European travel. Rick took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. As an 18-year-old, Rick began traveling on his own, funding his trips by teaching piano lessons. In 1976, he started his business, Rick Steves' Europe, which has grown from a one-man operation to a company with a staff of 100 full-time, well-travelled employees at his headquarters in Washington state. There he produces more than 50 guidebooks on European travel, America's most popular travel series on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, a weekly syndicated column and free travel information available through his travel center and Rick Steves' Europe also runs a successful European tour program. He lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington.


WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion
716 Stevens Avenue
Portland, ME 04103
Marijuana and Civil Rights in America event poster
6:30 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public