Poll: Texans More Supportive of Pot

When it comes to the issue of marijuana, Texans appear to be mellowing out. A new survey from the University of Texas and Texas Tribune reveals 83 percent of Texans now support legalizing marijuana for some use, and 53 percent support legalizing it for any use.  Those numbers are up significantly from the same survey two years ago, when 76 percent supported at least some legalization and 34 percent supported medical marijuana only.

While attitudes about pot among the Texas population are shifting, the lawmakers they've elected largely don't share the same opinions.  The only step toward legalization Texas has taken was in 2015, when lawmakers approved small amounts of a cannabis oil to be used for certain medical conditions.  After signing that bill, Gov. Greg Abbott indicated the state would go no further toward legalization.  And with Republicans solidly in charge of the state, the resistance to legalization makes sense.  The survey finds that only 41 percent of Republicans statewide support legalization for non-medical use, as opposed to 62 percent of Democrats.

Nevertheless, pro-legalization advocates are hoping these survey results will help spur support of a new, broader medical marijuana bill introduced in this year's legislative session.  "SB 269 will make (medical) cannabis legalized in Texas, it will cover a wide array of qualifying conditions," says Samantha Oser with Houston NORML.  She tells KTRH that there are a number of legitimate uses for medical marijuana.  "Cannabis can replace Vicodin and Ambien, cannabis can replace Adderall, so there are definitely a lot of things going for it."

Advocates are also encouraged by the recent move of Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg to divert low-level marijuana offenders into a diversion program instead of criminal prosecution.  "With the DA doing the thing she did in the largest county in Texas, it will certainly help have a domino effect for what will be happening in our legislative session this year," says Oser.marijuan

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