WASHINGTON, D.C.—Adult industry members and fans are well familiar with Phil Harvey. Besides co-founding online retail giant Adam & Eve, Harvey spends much of his time at his other company, DKT International, the non-profit which for almost a quarter century has been promoting family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention through social marketing, with 20 programs in 18 countries around the world.
But Harvey also has another cause that's near to his heart: Getting rid of this country's ruinous "war on drugs," which has filled America's prisons, cost millions their livelihoods and torn families apart—and one of the most egregious fronts in that war has been the continued criminalization of marijuana use.
So it's not surprising that Harvey has joined billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros and similarly-wealthy Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis in donating $50,000 to New Approach Oregon, a grassroots organization that's trying to legalize the sale and use of marijuana in the state, by putting it under the control of the state Liquor Control Commission.
"The Oregon case is an important one, I think, and there is a great deal of work going on there to follow Washington and Colorado in legalizing marijuana," Harvey told AVN. "It will be a referendum. They're also working with the legislature but I think their principal hope is with a referendum initiative, the same as we had in both of the other states. And in the hopes that in 2014 Oregon and perhaps Alaska and perhaps Rhode Island will become additional venues for legal marijuana, I have supported that effort."
"George Soros and Peter Lewis have been real heroes in the fight against the war on drugs," he continued. "They have contributed consistently to the medical marijuana initiatives and they're into a great many other causes. They have been enormous supporters of the war on the war on drugs."
A quick look at the DrugSense.org website reveals that the U.S. has spent more than $65 billion on the "War on Drugs" this year, and arrested almost a million and a half citizens for drug offenses—one every 19 seconds—and roughly half of those were for pot.
Harvey also pointed to a recent article by Reason.com's Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie, "The Drug War Is Over (If Obama Wants It)." In the article, Gillespie points out that in a recent Gallup poll, fully 58 percent of Americans agreed that "the use of marijuana should be made legal," to which Gillespie adds, "Not decriminalized, medicalized, or any other weasel-worded synonym to keep the squares and the cops and the addiction-industry lobbyists from getting the vapors and reaching for a legal chill pill. Legalized. This year’s figure represents a massive, 10-point bounce from last year and an even longer, stranger trip from 1969, the first year Gallup popped the question, when just 12 percent said pot ought to be sold like beer, wine, and alcohol."
After opining that only those of retirement age still support the prohibitions, Gillespie avows his faith in the young, 48 percent of whom over the age of 12 have smoked it. Sadly, comedian Lenny Bruce had similar faith, opining in the early '60s that he expected marijuana to be "legal in 10 years, because all the law students I know smoke it."
Quoth Gillespie: "The only question left—and it’s not a small one, for sure—is the one Secretary of State John Kerry asked as a Vietnam protester: Who’s going to be the last man to die for this mistake?"
Indeed; and it's a mistake that Harvey and other forward-thinkers would like to correct.