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Majority Of Texans Support Marijuana Legalization, Including Plurality Of Republican Voters, Poll Finds



Three in five Texans, including a plurality of Republicans, support legalizing marijuana, according to a new survey.

The Texas Lyceum Poll found that 60 percent of adults in the state back the reform—a 14 percentage point increase compared to a 2015 survey they conducted that asked about cannabis policy opinions. This round, 31 percent said they oppose legalization and 10 percent said they were unsure.

Of the 31 percent of Texas adults who disagree with legalization, 42 percent said they would at least support decriminalizing marijuana by making possession punishable by a citation and fine, but 47 percent said they were against even that modest reform.

“Taken together, 73 percent of Texans support either full legalization or decriminalization of marijuana in Texas according to 2024 polling,” Lyceum said.

The survey revealed common demographic trends when it comes to legalization, with support weakest among those aged 65+ (49 percent), Republicans (49 percent) and self-described conservatives (46 percent). Support was strongest among Democrats (72 percent) and people aged 30-44 (71 percent).

The poll involved interviews with 1,200 Texas adults, including 926 registered voters, from April 12-21. The margin of error was +/- 2.83 percentage points.

Despite the statewide majority support for legalization, voters in the city of Lubbock rejected a local decriminalization initiative at the ballot earlier this month.

The city was the the first community to consider the reform on the ballot following Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) legal actions against five other Texas cities with voter-approved decriminalization laws.

“Local communities such as towns, cities and counties, they don’t have the authority to override state law,” Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said late last month. “If they want to see a different law passed, they need to work with their legislators. Let’s legislate to work to make sure that the state, as a state, will pass some of the law.”

He said it would lead to “chaos” and create an “unworkable system” for voters in individual cities to be “picking and choosing” the laws they want abide by under state statute.

Abbott has previously said that he doesn’t believe people should be in jail over marijuana possession—although he mistakenly suggested at the time that Texas had already enacted a decriminalization policy to that end.

Meanwhile, activists with Ground Game Texas and Texas Cannabis Collective have been collecting signatures to place local marijuana decriminalization initiatives on the November ballot in two more cities: Dallas and Lockhart.

In general, the measures that have already been enacted in AustinDenton, Elgin, Harker Heights, Killeen and San Marcos prevent police from making arrests or issuing citations for Class A or B misdemeanor cannabis possession offenses, unless it’s part of a high priority felony  investigation for narcotics or violent crime.

In November, Ground Game released a report that looked at the impacts of the marijuana reform laws. It found that the measures will keep hundreds of people out of jail, even as they have led to blowback from law enforcement in some cities. The initiatives have also driven voter turnout by being on the ballot, the report said.

Another cannabis decriminalization measure that went before voters in San Antonio last May was overwhelmingly defeated, but that proposal also included unrelated provisions to prevent enforcement of abortion restrictions.

At the state-level last year, the Texas House of Representatives passed a series of bills to decriminalize marijuana, facilitate expungements and allow chronic pain patients to access medical cannabis as an opioid alternative. But they ultimately stalled out in the Senate, which has been a theme for cannabis reform measures in the conservative legislature over several sessions.

The House passed similar cannabis decriminalization proposals during the past two legislative sessions, in 2021 and 2019.

Separately, a Texas Democratic senator brought the issue of marijuana legalization to the Senate floor last May, seeking to attach to an unrelated resolution an amendment that would’ve allowed Texans to vote on ending prohibition at the ballot box. But the symbolic proposal was ultimately shut down. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) agreed to another member’s point of order, deeming the cannabis amendment not germane to the broader legislation.

Another poll released in 2022 found that nearly three in four Texas voters (72 percent) support decriminalizing marijuana. More than half (55 percent), meanwhile, said they’re in favor of broader legalization. Seventeen percent said it shouldn’t be legal at all.

Last March, the same institution similarly showed that a majority of Texas voters feel that the state’s marijuana laws should be “less strict.”

GOP Lawmakers Demand DEA Head Explain Why She Didn’t Sign Marijuana Rescheduling Proposal, Breaking ‘Decades Of Precedent’

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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