Only 23% of Texans want to keep marijuana illegal
A newly released UT/Texas Tribune poll shows that few Texans support keeping marijuana illegal.
Of those surveyed, 23% of registered Texas voters want to see cannabis remain illegal in all forms. Another 28% would legalize for medical use only, while 49% say they want full legalization. This puts support for medical marijuana in Texas at a sound majority support of 77%.
Of those supporting full legalization, 32% support legalizing small amounts while 17% support any amount.
Late last year a Public Policy Polling survey found 58% of Texans supporting legalization, and the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation conducted a poll in which 79% of Texas voters opposed jailing people for drug offenses. Several nation-wide polls show support ranging from the lower 50 percent range to the upper 50 percent range.
Talking to Texas Tribune, Daron Shaw who is co-director of the poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin stated, “I’ve always thought that pot has been viewed as a social issue.I’m not sure that’s right. There is not just a libertarian but also a fiscal-conservative angle to this. I wonder if this debate doesn’t at some point transform from a social to an economic debate.”
Jim Henson, who heads the Texas Politics Project at UT and is also co-director of the poll, told Texas Tribune he sees some coalitions forming on the issue.
“This is one of the areas where the liberal meets the libertarian in Texas political culture,” he said. “You’ve got social conservative opposition, strongest in rural area and among Republicans. Interestingly, mainline Republicans are more restrictive than Tea Party Republicans.”
It is only a matter of time as even former drug czars and prohibition proponents are conceding that the momentum of marijuana legalization cannot be stopped. Texans must urge their representatives to decide whether their state should be ahead of the game, or limp across the line at the end.
Many wonder if 2015, or more likely 2017, will be the time for legalization in Texas.
By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com