Almst 9 in 10 voters in Texas say Cannabis should be legal in some form, according to a new survey. Just 13 percent still back prohibition. The numbers are a sign of hope, and come from a poll released on Friday from the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune.
Support for some sort of marijuana legalization spans across party lines in Texas. Younger people between 18 and 29 are the most supportive of Cannabis legalization. Only 4% of young folks it shouldn’t be legal under any circumstance. That means there’s plenty of reason to feel hopeful about the future. A majority, 51% of those in that age group, said any amount of marijuana should be legal for any reason.
A collective 60 percent said they support legalizing marijuana for any purpose. Those same voters, however, are split about evenly on whether there should be possession limits. Cannabis should only be legally possessed for medicinal use, according to 27%.
Four Policy Options Given
The survey gave respondents four marijuana policy options to choose from:
1. Possession should be legal for any amount and any purpose;
2. Small amounts should be legal for any purpose;
3. Cannabis should be legal for medical use only; and
4. Possession should not be legal “under any circumstances.”
Only 13% of Texas voters think marijuana should not be legal under any circumstances. Twenty-seven percent believe it should be legal for medical purposes. Thirty-one percent believe small amounts should be legal for any purpose. But my personal favorites are the 29% who believe any amount should be legal for any purpose.
These figures are generally consistent with the results of a February 2021 survey that the organizations conducted. Twice as many said marijuana should be illegal in Texas polls a decade ago. Just 42% said 10 years ago that Cannabis should be legal for any purpose.
Texas Legislature Can’t Get ‘Er Done
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill this month to slightly expand the state’s limited medical Cannabis program. The legislation added cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that qualify patients to legally access marijuana. The amount of THC allowed went from 0.5 percent to (a still measly) one percent.
Also this month, Abbottt allowed a bill that will require Texas to study the therapeutic potential of psychedelics to become law without his signature.
Separate bills to reduce penalties for possessing marijuana concentrates and decriminalize Cannabis possession also advanced this year. But the bottom line is, they failed to pass.
Ending an Era of Failure
Ground Game Texas, a newly formed progressive coalition, wants to end those failures. And they also have a plan to make that happen. The group, led by two former congressional candidates said this month that it plans to take cannabis and other issues directly to voters. They plan to do this by putting local reform measures on ballots across the state.
Abbott didn’t sign legislation clarifying that a positive Cannabis test alone is not sufficient reason to remove a child from their home. But he also didn’t veto it. The law, enacted last month without Abbott’s signature, takes effect on September 1.
The new survey interviewed 1,200 registered Texas voters from June 10-21.