After clinching the Democratic nomination for Texas governor this week, Beto O’Rourke took the stage and made a promise that could define his fall campaign.
“And don’t you think it’s time we legalize marijuana in the state of Texas? I do too,” the former Congressman said. ”We can get that done.” That’s a big promise. But it’s one on which O’Rourke may be able to deliver, reports KCEN-TV.
Beto’s platform also includes loosening voting restrictions in Texas, enforcing pollution laws, repealing permitless carry and expanding affordable health care, according to his campaign website.
Trending Towards Cannabis
The percentage of Texas voters favoring legalization of Cannabis has been trending upward since 2010, according to the University of Texas at Austin.
Back then, there was 60/40 split against marijuana legalization. Today, those numbers have flipped to favor legal weed.
Baylor Political Professor Pat Flavin says the signs are there. “About a year from now, there could be serious consideration of decriminalization,” Flavin said. “Or at least reducing the penalties particularly for small amounts of possession.”
Texas NORML: ”Will of the People”
The Texas chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also know as Texas NORML, has been laying the groundwork. They want Texas voters to know about the legalization of Cannabis and the people who support their cause.
The executive producer for Texas NORML, Jax James, says her organization is trying to make a big push while timid lawmakers drag their feet.
“There’s a lot of local action going on trying to push and give upward momentum to this through the legislature,” James says. “But if it was up to the will of the people, we would have had a robust medical cannabis market about eight years ago, maybe even 10.”
”We Can Make Regulation That Works For The State Of Texas”
Legalization was thought to be all but impossible in Texas years ago. But as times change and progress happens, a new possibilities emerge.
James says that ultimately the time to push is now and prohibitionists should embrace the changing times.
“For the rare few prohibitionists that are left out there. I think that many of the issues that people have with cannabis can be addressed in thoughtful ways,” James says. “We can make regulation that works for the state of Texas and empowers both businesses and consumers. To engage in a robust market which we deserve here in the state of Texas.”