Cannabis radio host has a target on his back, literally - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Cannabis radio host has a target on his back, literally

(Photo source: KPHO/KTVK) (Photo source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A marijuana advocate and talk show host on the Valley-based Cannabis Radio Network has a target on his back. Literally.

"Radical" Russ Belville, host of the Russ Belville Show, has a map of the United States tattooed from shoulder to shoulder. States that have legalized recreational use of marijuana  Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska  are shaded in green ink.

"I'm not stopping until all 50 states are legal. I'm not stopping until nobody has to fear a drug test for their job. I'm not stopping until every patient who needs medical cannabis can get it."

Belville dove into marijuana advocacy full-time in 2006 after a failed drug test disqualified him from a job in information technology.

His map also includes nearly 70 marijuana leaves scattered throughout 20 states, signifying cities where the 48-year-old has hosted his program or an advocacy event. His goal is to host events in all 50 states by age 50.

"We can't rest on our laurels with medical marijuana and think that's good enough," he said.

The mission of Belville's talk show is to grow legalization efforts by covering the latest news and research on medical marijuana, consumer cannabis, and industrial hemp. The show is broadcast live online two hours a day by Scottsdale-based CannabisRadio.com, and available on a number of apps and podcast services.

"My show is the NPR of P-O-T," said Belville, who is also the news director for the network. 

Other contributors include comedian Tommy Chong of "Cheech & Chong" and Dr. Dina Browner, a cannabis consultant for Snoop Dogg whose life may have inspired aspects of the Showtime television show, "Weeds." 

Belville started the tattoo project in 2014, after mentioning the idea to a supporter at an event in Texas.

"He said, 'Our co-sponsor is a tattoo shop! He'll do it for free!' And I was kind of stuck because I couldn't back out."

Belville got the lower 48 states tattooed that day. He added Alaska and Hawaii last year.

"Hopefully in 2016, I'll have another five states to get shaded in."

One ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Arizona, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, has gathered more 180,000 signatures, spokesperson Barrett Marson said Wednesday. The initiative needs 150,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Although marijuana use of any kind is illegal under federal law and recreational use is permitted in only four states, Belville said he's optimistic he'll shade in all 50 states in his lifetime.

"Will I be in my 80s by the time Kansas legalizes? Maybe. But since I use a lot of cannabis, I'm sure I'll see it," he said with a smile.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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