It seems that even some of the most conservative states are embracing the idea of cannabis legalization. The debate surrounding decriminalizing marijuana appears to have an overwhelming amount of support among Texans, a new poll finds.
A survey conducted by the University of Texas and The Texas Tribune was released on Friday. The poll revealed that nearly nine out of ten Texans agree that cannabis should be legalized to some sort of degree, whether for medicinal purposes or a regulated market for adult recreational users.
The study asked respondents to choose between four options of legalization — full legalization no matter the amount or purpose, possession of small amounts for any purpose, legalization for medicinal purposes, or keeping possession illegal “under any circumstance.” Surprisingly, only a few respondents, amounting to 13%, want to keep cannabis illegal.
Most Texans agreed that possession to some extent should be permissible under state laws. 60% agreed that it should be legal no matter the purpose, though they were split on possession limits. Another 20% voted in favor of legalizing cannabis for medical use.
The survey was conducted in February 2021 and it shows a vast difference in attitudes towards marijuana in comparison to 2010. There were near twice as many people who were in favor of criminalizing cannabis while 42% agreed that cannabis possession should be allowed for any purpose.
The pillar of support behind the support for full legalization is no surprise as it largely comes from a younger demographic. Only 4% of young people between ages 18-29 pushed to keep cannabis criminalized while 51% agree with full decriminalization.
Even with the support of the people of Texas, there are still troubles with the state’s legislature for widespread cannabis reform. Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent move towards reform has been promising — from expanding the state’s medical cannabis program to include PTSD to allowing the state to legally study psychedelics for medical purposes without his signature. However, other efforts, like reforming penalties for possession, have not been able to pass.