You know the pot tide is turning when Texas wants to legalize it. According to a study by the Marijuana Policy Project and Public Policy Polling released today, 58 percent of voters polled said they wanted to legalize pot and regulate it similarly to alcohol. Thirty-eight percent were opposed.
The Lone Star State also feels that medical marijuana should be legalized, with 58 percent supporting changes in laws to allow access to cannabis for sick and terminally ill patients. Only 31 percent say they would oppose medical cannabis laws.
The largest support (61 percent) was for decriminalizing the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and making the offense on par with a$100 traffic ticket with no prison time. Currently, pot possession of an ounce in Texas is a criminal offense that can get you up to a year in jail and $2,000.
Lawmakers have tried in the past to pitch decriminalization bills at the state level in Texas, but none ever seem to get very far with lawmakers concerned about being perceived as “soft” on their stance on drugs. Travis county, home to Austin (arguably the most progressive city in Texas) has decriminalized the possession of cannabis.
“Marijuana prohibition has been just as big a failure as alcohol prohibition,” MPP executive director Rob Kampia said in a press release. “Most Texans agree that marijuana sales should be conducted by legitimate businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market.Law enforcement officials’ time would be better spent addressing violent crimes instead of adults simply possessing marijuana. No adult should face potentially life-altering criminal penalties for using a product that is significantly less harmful than alcohol.”
The survey was conducted by phone at the end of September. More than 850 randomly selected registered voters were quizzed, with 42 percent identifying as Republicans, 35 percent as Democrats and 23 percent as Independents. The survey was split almost evenly between women and men.