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Strong Majorities Of Texans Support Medical And Recreational Marijuana Legalization, Including Most Republicans, New Poll Finds



Four out of five Texans support legalizing medical cannabis and decriminalizing possession of marijuana—and a strong majority across party lines also backs broader recreational legalization—according to a new poll.

The poll from YouGov and the University of Houston asked respondents about a wide range of legislative issues, including cannabis reform.

It found that 82 percent favor medical marijuana legalization, 81 percent back making simple possession punishable by a citation similar to a traffic ticket and 67 percent support legalizing cannabis for adult use.

For the medical marijuana question, that majority includes 93 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of independents and 73 percent of Republicans.

With respect to decriminalization, the policy is supported by 88 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of independents.

Adult-use legalization similarly enjoys majority support regardless of party affiliation, with 80 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of independents and 55 percent of Republicans saying that favor the reform.

Via University of Houston.

The survey further asked respondents about which policy they’d prefer to see the legislature enact, and the majority (54 percent) said that they wanted marijuana to be legal for medical and recreational purposes.

Another 28 percent said that cannabis should only be made legal for medical use, while 18 percent said that they favor the status quo of criminalization.

Democrats and independents were the most likely to say that marijuana should be legalized across the board, at 63 percent for both. A minority of Republicans (38 percent) said the same, with more saying they’d prefer a medical-only system.

If cannabis is legalized, a majority of Texans (66 percent) agree that it would serve as a good source of revenue for state and local government, compared to 16 percent who said it would have a negative impact and 18 percent who said it would have a neutral effect.

A 45 percent plurality said that legalization would not increase or decrease marijuana use among people under 21, while 40 percent said that it would increase youth use and 15 percent said it would decrease.

Respondents were largely divided on the question of whether legalizing marijuana would make people more likely to use other illicit drugs. Forty percent said it wouldn’t have any effect, while 30 percent said it would increase such activity and 30 percent said it would decrease.

“Attitudes about the use of marijuana have been evolving over the past few decades, and we found especially strong support for expanding the use of medical marijuana,” Renée Cross, senior executive director and researcher at the the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs, said in a press release. “But a majority of Texans across-the-board – across partisan, generational and racial and ethnic lines – also said they support legalization for recreational use.”

The survey involved YouGov interviews with 1,200 people from January 9-19, with a +/-2.8 percent margin of error.

A separate poll from the University of Texas and Texas Politics Project Poll that was released last month also found majority support for legalization and decriminalization in the Lone Star State.

The Texas House approved a cannabis decriminalization bill in 2019, but it did not advance in the Senate that session Lawmakers have since been unable to pass additional expansive cannabis bills in recent sessions.

For his part, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said that he doesn’t believe people should be incarcerated over low-level marijuana possession. However, the governor incorrectly suggested that lawmakers have already adopted the policy statewide.

House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) said in September that he will work to enact criminal justice reform in the 2023 session, and he again expressed support for lowering penalties for marijuana possession.

The Texas Republican Party adopted a platform plank endorsing decriminalization of marijuana possession in 2018, but that was later rescinded.

Meanwhile, there’s been a surge of local action on marijuana issues under home rule laws in Texas over recent years.

Major cities like Austin have already enacted decriminalization locally at the ballot, and voters passed the reform in five other Texas cities this past November.

Activists in the state recently turned in more than 37,000 signatures to place a measure on the San Antonio ballot in May to decriminalize marijuana, prevent the enforcement of abortion restriction laws and ban no-knock warrants.

Long-Term Medical Marijuana Use Tied To Reduced Opioid Dosages, American Medical Association-Published Study Shows

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