A massive majority of those in Texas support legalizing recreational marijuana, and an even larger percentage support decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing it for medical use.
This is according to a new survey conducted by YouGov and the University of Houston. The poll found that 67% of adults in Texas support legalizing marijuana for all uses, for all adults. When asked about decriminalizing marijuana, support jumps to a staggering 81%. Support is even higher – albeit barely – for medical marijuana legalization, with 82% in support.
The poll found strong support across party lines. Although Democrats support recreational legalization at a much higher rate – 80% – support among independents and Republicans is also high at 66% and 55% respectively.
For medical marijuana, 93% of Democrats support its legalization, compared to 73% of Republicans and 79 of independents.
In regards to decriminalization, 88% of Democrats support it compared to 77% of Republicans and 73% of Independents.
“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,” says Renée Cross, senior executive director and researcher at the the University of Houston’s Hobby School of Public Affairs. “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.