Nearly nine out of ten Texas voters say marijuana should be legal in some form, with just 13 percent still backing prohibition, according to a new poll.
The survey, released on Friday by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune, gave respondents four cannabis policy options to choose from: possession should be legal for any amount and any purpose, possession of small amounts should be legal for any purpose, marijuana should be legal for medical use only and possession should not be legal “under any circumstances.”
A collective 60 percent said they support legalizing cannabis for any purpose, with those voters split about evenly on whether there should be possession limits. Twenty-seven percent said marijuana should only be legally possessed for medical use.
These figures are generally consistent with the results of a February 2021 survey that the organizations conducted. But 10 years ago, it was a different story, with twice any many people saying cannabis should be criminalized and just 42 percent saying marijuana possession should be legalized for any purpose.
A demographic breakdown of the survey responses should that there’s majority support for some form of legalization regardless of party affiliation.
As is typically the case, young people 18-29 are most likely to favor legalization, with 51 percent saying cannabis should be legal for any amount and any reason. Only four percent in that age group think marijuana should remain criminalized across the board.
Despite majority support for broad reform, the legislature has so far been unable or unwilling to advance adult-use cannabis legalization.
That said, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) did sign a bill this month to modestly expand the state’s limited medical marijuana program, adding cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that qualify patients to legally access cannabis. It also doubles the amount of THC concentration that is allowed, from 0.5 percent to one percent.
Also this month, the governor allowed legislation that will require the state to study the therapeutic potential of psychedelics to become law without his signature.
Separate bills to reduce penalties for possessing cannabis concentrates, revise the state’s hemp program and broadly decriminalize marijuana possession also advanced this year—but they did not make it over the finish line by the session’s end.
Partly because of those failures, a newly formed progressive coalition that’s being led by two former congressional candidates said this month that it plans to take cannabis and other issues directly to voters by putting reform measures on local ballots across the state.
Abbott did not sign additional legislation to clarify that a positive marijuana test alone is not sufficient criteria for removing a child from their home. But he didn’t veto it, either, and it was enacted without the his signature last month and takes effect on September 1, 2021.
In any case, the new survey shows that Texans are ready for bolder action. It involved interviews with 1,200 registered voters from June 10-21.