Is Medical Marijuana Something Texans Want Legalized?
The 88th Texas Legislative Session is underway in Austin and one issue that may or may not come up during the session is medical marijuana. It's not an issue that the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Speaker have been vocal about, but Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller has been very vocal in his support of medical marijuana.
But what about the voters? Do the people in Texas want medical marijuana legalized by lawmakers? According to the latest poll released this week by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, the answer is overwhelmingly "yes".
According to the Dallas Morning News, 82% of Texans support state lawmakers passing legislation that would allow people to use marijuana for a "wide range" of medical issues. Currently, the Governor and legislature have taken steps to open up medical marijuana to different groups. But proponents want more. According to the Dallas Morning News, Texans across the board support medical marijuana.
The results were consistent across the board in terms of gender, race and political affiliation: 85% of Latino, 83% of Black and 80% of white Texans polled support it; 83% of women and 80% of men are in favor; and 93% of Democrats, 79% of independents and 73% of Republicans approve.
Also, 81% of Texas are in favor of making small amounts of marijuana possession a penalty that would be similar to a traffic ticket. And 49% of the state’s residents “strongly support” decriminalizing marijuana.
While 66% of those polled said they believe legalization would be good for state and local government revenue, there were concerns by many about whether it would encourage increased use of marijuana by young Texans: 40% believe legalization would increase the use of pot by those under age 21, 15% said it would decrease underage use, and 45% said they believe it would have no effect.
While I doubt we will see the Texas Legislature approve medical marijuana, I do think that public sentiment will push lawmakers in the future to consider it. Watch for the Governor to expand access again this session, but it won't be completely open for everyone.