PBS Travel Host Urges Illinois to Legalize Cannabis

In this Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 photo, travel guide author and marijuana legalization supporter Rick Steves stands in his office in Edmonds, Wash next to a door covered with marijuana leaf-shaped notes from his staff congratulating him on the passage of a referendum legalizing marijuana in the state. Known for his public television and radio shows, as well as his "Europe through the Back Door" guide books, he openly advocated in 2003 for a measure that made marijuana the lowest priority for Seattle police. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

CHICAGO (AP) — Television travel guide Rick Steves has made a stop in Chicago to advocate for legalizing marijuana in Illinois.

Steves is the host of the program “Rick Steves’ Europe” and a proponent of legalizing recreational cannabis. He spoke Tuesday at a hearing called by Illinois legislators to consider the issue.

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Steves says “Marijuana is here to stay.” He says states can either build more prisons to lock up drug users or “figure out a better solution.”

Democratic state Sen. Heather Steans and state Rep. Kelly Cassidy are the lead sponsors of a measure to tax and regulate adult-use cannabis. They say doing so could generate hundreds of millions in new revenue.

Not everyone was sold on the idea. Republican state Sen. Dan McConchie says legalization could lead to other problems.