Majority of Texas Republicans Back Marijuana Legalizationby JEREMY BELLAND
According to a recent survey, many Texans, including Texas Republicans, back marijuana legalization for adult use. The survey comes from the University of Houston and Texas Southern University. It shows that 67% of residents in Texas back broad reform.
What’s more surprising for many is that 51% of the participants who identify as Republican back legalization for adults.
Additionally, the poll included the legalization of other controlled substances, such as meth or heroin. Generally, respondents opposed such changes, limited to roughly 16% saying they support the efforts.
However, 20% of independents, 26% of Gen Xers, and 24% of millennials are on board with a complete end to the war on drugs. Let’s focus on why we’re here, though.
Marijuana Legalization in Texas
To many, it seems like a pipedream. Still, we crawl ever so slowly towards that destination with incremental changes that don’t fully reflect the broad support. When it comes to Democrats or younger individuals, they are the ones most likely to support recreational legalization.
According to the survey, about 79% of Democrats and 70% of independents are in favor of this policy. However, the big surprise is that a slight majority of Texas Republicans back marijuana legalization.
In our GOP-controlled legislature, comprehensive cannabis change consistently comes to a screeching halt. As such, learning that 51% of state Republicans agree on the legalization of cannabis is quite noteworthy.
Moreover, while young people are more likely to support an end of marijuana criminalization, 50% of both Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation say they support cannabis legalization.
Where This Data Comes From
To back the claim that the majority of Texas Republicans back marijuana legalization, you probably want proof. Or, you at least want to know where this data came from, right?
The survey is based on a series of interviews with 2,067 Texas adults. They took place from October 4 - 21, 2021. The survey itself has a margin of error of +/-2.2%.
This survey also covered other criminal justice reform ideas outside of drug policy in the state. However, our focus is on cannabis legalization.
Overall, the results of the survey stayed consistent with recent national polling. For instance, a recent report from Rasmussen Reports shows that a majority of U.S. adults, which includes many Texas Republicans, back marijuana legalization on a national level.
Additionally, a poll from Gallup showed that 68% of adults in the U.S. support the legalization of cannabis. That’s consistent with the results of their last poll from November 2020, when support reached its highest peak since 1969.
Texas Drug Reform
Now that we know even a slight majority of Texas Republicans back marijuana legalization, what’s going on in the Lone Star State?
In Texas, we did see some mild policy reform in the latest legislative session. However, it wasn’t really at the pace anyone hoped to see.
Recently, the state enacted a bill to expand the medical cannabis program. However, many advocates for legalization are disappointed that lawmakers failed to pass more expansive legislature, such as a proposal to decriminalize that cleared the House only to gain no action in the Senate.
This is consistent with the decriminalization bill of 2019 that gained approval in the House but did not advance in the Senate. Moreover, the Texas Republican Party adopted a platform to endorse decriminalization of marijuana possession back in 2018.
While these show an excellent trend, the progress remains quite slow. With no process for advocates to put an issue like legalization on the ballot in Texas, there’s limited hope in some cities for advocates to leverage home rule laws to allow for certain policy changes.