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Texas Wants Legal Marijuana. Gov. Abbott Says No.

Most Texans want legal Cannabis. But Republican Governor Greg Abbott is convinced he knows better, and he won’t budge

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Most Texans want legal Cannabis in their state. But Republican Governor Greg Abbott — convinced he knows better than voters — is not budging.

Abbott told The Dallas Morning News Tuesday that he doesn’t care about polls showing the majority of Texans support legalization. He believes it should remain illegal for adult use. 

In comments during a North Texas business roundtable, Abbott said his view is unchanged from prior statements. Abbott already said pot possession remain on the books as a crime, reports the San Antonio Current. His efforts at “weed reform” have been limited to making tepid, lukewarm ”let’s reduce penalties” noises whilst actually doing nothing.

Beto Backs The Bud

In contrast, Abbott’s Democratic rival in the election, Beto O’Rourke, supports the full legalization of marijuana. Currently, legal weed in Texas is only available through a very restrictive CBD program limiting THC to useless levels. That milquetoast medical marijuana law also greatly restricts what maladies weed can be authorized for. 

A new Dallas Morning News-University of Tyler poll shows Abbott ahead of O’Rourke by seven points in the race. But that same poll suggests Texans’ views on weed align more closely with O’Rourke’s. That’s because 60% of respondents support legalizing pot for recreational use, with 83% wanting it legal for medical use.

Support for medical Cannabis crossed political lines. An overwhelming 91% of Democrats, 74% of Republicans and 85% of independents said patients should have legal access to marijuana.

Abbott’s continued opposition also appears to buck a national trend. Adult-use Cannabis is now legal in 18 states. These states next-door-neighbor New Mexico. Meanwhile, Texas’ other surrounding states — Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas — have all approved legitimate, actual medical marijuana programs. 

Both medical and adult-use marijuana legalization are more popular than Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R). Their approval ratings are at 46 percent and 40 percent, respectively, reports Marijuana Moment.

Patrick, for his part, has proactively worked to defeat marijuana reform measures in the Texas Legislature as the Senate’s presiding officer.

Legalizing Cannabis is also more popular than law enforcement, the NRA, and building a wall along the Mexico border.

“Polling continues to show that Texans want a change to the status quo,” said Jax James, executive director for Texas NORML. “Bipartisan support for robust medical access and a regulated adult-use market is overwhelming. It is time for legislators to do the work of implementing the voters’ wishes in the 2023 legislative session.”

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