Oct 102013
 

texas marijuana legalizationThe latest data from Public Policy Polling shows that nearly three-in-five Texans (58%) support “changing Texas law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol.”  The poll, commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), asked 860 Texans three questions related to marijuana policy and on all three, the same three-in-five margin supported liberalizing marijuana laws in the Lone Star State.

When asked whether they “support or oppose a change in the law to make it a civil, not criminal, offense to possess an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use,” the same 58% of Texans agreed that marijuana use should be decriminalized.

When asked whether they “support or oppose changing the law in Texas to allow seriously and terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana,” support increased slightly to 61% of Texans that would support protecting patients who use cannabis as medicine.

MPP’s director, Rob Kampia, now a part-time resident of Austin, said, “Most Texans agree that marijuana sales should be conducted by legitimate businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market.  No adult should face potentially life-altering criminal penalties for using a product that is significantly less harmful than alcohol.”

Interestingly, the gender gap usually found in marijuana legalization polls is not found in Texas.  Where other polls have shown women’s support for legalization to trail men’s support by five to ten percentage points, the Texas poll shows women slightly more supportive of legalization than men, by a difference of 59% to 57%.  Women and men had identical 61% support for decriminalization in Texas and women had more support for medical marijuana, at 59% versus men’s 56% support.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans were not quite as supportive of legalization, with less than half (48%) of GOP voters backing Colorado/Washington-style legalization in Texas.  However, Republican majorities support both decriminalization (55%) and medical marijuana (50%).  Democrats in the state back legalization, with 70% overall support and 53% “strongly support[ing]” taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol.  Two-thirds of Texas Dems support medical marijuana (67%) and decriminalization (66%).

When broken down by racial and ethnic demographics, support for marijuana reform still remains a majority issue.  Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to support legalization and medical marijuana than Whites, but Hispanics are less likely to support decriminalization than Blacks and Whites.

Every age group supports marijuana legalization, ranging from 52% of senior citizens (older than 65) to 63% among those of middle age (30-45).  However, young people age 18-29 fail to give majority support to both medical marijuana and decriminalization, with sizable percentages (32% and 14%, respectively) answering “Not sure” on the issues.

Source: National Cannabis Coalition - make a donation

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About Russ Belville

I am the executive director of 420RADIO.org and host / producer of The Russ Belville Show - The Independent Voice of the Marijuana Nation at http://radicalruss.com - live from Portland, Oregon. I was the winner of The Search for the Next Great Progressive Talk Radio Star and a former host on XM Satellite Radio and Portland's AM 620 KPOJ. I was the Outreach Coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws from 2008-2012, which included lecturing all across America on marijuana legalization, writing political analysis for HIGH TIMES Magazine, and producing over 1,000 hours of video content for The NORML Network.
  • painkills2

    I am worried that the movement will get stuck on the constant reference to cannabis as “not as harmful as alcohol.” It’s a great message as everyone and their mothers know stuff about alcohol and can relate. But, the more people who use cannabis, the more likely that some nitwit will somehow prove that, for him, cannabis WAS more harmful than alcohol (when it is most definitely not). I’m afraid this argument is going to turn around and bite us in the ass. But then, I am a worrywart.

    • Loco Johnny

      It won’t due to the facts.
      Keep your hopes up!

      • painkills2

        I visited with a few conservative friends from Texas recently and, although they do not agree with it, they have come to “accept” my use of medical cannabis. That’s great, isn’t it? If I tell you that their “acceptance” appears to be contingent on me staying in the closet regarding this issue, would you still feel great?

        Hopes (that facts will rule out) and dreams (of worldwide legalization) are wonderful things, but I’m living here in reality, dude. There are a lot of great people in Texas, including my friends, who will never be for legalization. And Texas is full of conservative, retirement-aged people who moved there because it’s cheap and they think they pay less taxes (now called “fees” in Texas).

        I look at how the conservatives in Colorado are handling the transition to legalization, and it would be like that, but amplified the Texas way, in the Lone Star state. Texas, well-known for its oil-rich billionaires (and Enron), used to be known as the state where Ann Richards (may she rest in peace) was governor; now it is know for the mumblings of Rick Perry. Jesus H. Christ. What a fall from grace…

        Don’t get me wrong, Loco Johnny. I appreciate the hopeful sentiment, really I do. Perhaps you just caught me in a cranky mood. All the best.

        • Loco Johnny

          Well, I do live in the state of Texas and do know quite a few things about Enron and what happened etc.
          Had family members involved in the Enron crash, but that is a huge long story that I don’t want to talk about on the blog nor anything near cannabis.
          Regarding the marijuana part of the talk, I believe that their are more people in Texas now that want to legalize it after seeing results of other states and now countries.
          I read about Mexico wanting to work with Texas for legalization to stop the drug war.
          I’m sure the people who are against it here haven’t tried it and are to hard headed to try it. They would probably rather drink themselves to death.
          When money got involved for recreational use that’s when Texas started watching and leaning towards it.
          I believe that Texas will soon legalize it for recreational use, and decriminalize it between 2014-2016.
          Reality is that no one will be able to prove that cannabis is worse then alcohol when there are test proving cannabis isn’t already in many different areas. If you read other blogs and how many things cannabis does good for you and not 1 harmful thing.
          So, again keep your “Hopes” up… Because that’s not going to happen.
          (No offense taken to the comment you made, Its just an opinion to me)
          I think amplifying cannabis the Texan way will be quite interesting to see how it all pans out!

          • painkills2

            Didn’t almost all of us from Texas know at least one person that suffered from the Enron collapse? It was like one minute the company was thriving and the next, splat.

            We can both hope together about Texas moving forward. You say between 2014 and 2016. If I were to be hopeful, I would guess 2020. (Give me a break, it’s better than never.) Let’s see who is closer, shall we? And the bet is on…

        • leofa

          these neo-cons that you refer to as “conservatives” are not conservative at all. real conservatives favor repealing all laws relating to drug and firearm prohibition. the enforcement of drug and firearm prohibitions are the keystones and cornerstones of a pig powered police state and can only be effectively enforced by violating the rights of the people to due process.

    • leofa

      since the enactment of federal marijuana prohibition in 1937 (actually a tax act for a product that could not be legally posessed unless taxed and stamped, which could only be done by hauling to the tax collector in DC) only one person has died from ingesting marijuana; he choked on it because he tried to eat it while being chased by the pigs

  • Elizabeth

    I just moved to Texas. I will write to everyone I can to get mj legal. I have fibromyalgia and tried it to see if it would work. It helped a LOT. I have tried everything that the doctor could prescribe. I even asked about mj. We had a positive discussion about it. I don’t think we should use the words terminally ill. We FM patients might get left out if it ever becomes legal. It should be worded for what the doctor recommends.

  • Apparition

    I support complete legalization of cannabis everywhere, including here in Texas. But I think 860 survey participants is too small of a sample size to draw the conclusions suggested.

    Rob Kampia has previously stated that when relegalization does come to the US, Texas will be on the back side of the tipping point. And I fully concur. There are still many, many ignorant people in this state.

    Now days all polls are designed to drive public opinion rather than reflect it. Hopefully this one will work that way as well.

    • Loco Johnny

      You’re incorrect according to your statement about Texas being on the back point, the only thing this poll does is make others realize Texas is ready…
      Even tho its only 860, the others are ready as well, I know thousands, I live here.

    • painkills2

      Good point about how polls are designed.

  • leofa

    this poll was probably taken in austin or houston. unfortunately the actual number is probably closer to 30% in favor of legalizing. texas is run by a bunch of neo-cons who march in step with the republican party (who know nothing about being a real republican). anyway, even if it is accurate the pigs here are opposed and they are the ones that the legislature represents