Marijuana legalization has gone mainstream. Rick Steves has helped.

Q: What did the path from European travel expert to cannabis activist look like?

I’ve spent a third of my adult life in Europe, four months a year ever since I was a college kid. It is fascinating to see how different societies grapple with the same problems.

In so many cases, the United States is into moralizing and mass incarceration. In Europe, a joint is about as exciting as a can of beer. When I am home, I see people I respect smoke marijuana, responsibly, and it’s a criminal act.

What really strikes me is people are not comfortable talking about it, to this day. When I started talking about this, I could understand that. I had to go on the radio with a pseudonym 15 or 20 years ago.