A new poll by the University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll asked voters in the state about a variety of issues states across the nation are facing, and how they want to see regulations in the state changed going forward. While some responses were expected, their views on marijuana were surprising but long overdue to The Lone Star State.
On the topic of marijuana, 51% wanted to see state laws become less strict, 22% wanted stricter laws and 15% who said to leave it alone. Oddly enough, the poll showed that other hot-button topics like abortion (47%), gambling (39%), voting laws (32%), and firearms (16%) all saw lower support for less strict laws in the future.
Party line-wise, naturally the Democrats led the way for less strict marijuana laws with 72% of them supporting the idea. Independents have 47% backing it, and Conservatives tanked their percentage down to 33%. That 33% edged out the 32% who wanted more strict laws, and 24% who wanted things left alone. Conducted February 10-21, the survey spoke with 1,200 registered voters and has a 2.83% margin of error.
YouGov and the University of Houston also conducted their own survey on the topic and received positive results as well. An astonishing 4/5 polled wanted medical marijuana legalized, and recreational marijuana decriminalized. Additionally, across party lines in their survey, a majority supported the idea of recreational marijuana. By asking specific questions, this survey allowed the voter to have a more precise picture of what it could do for Texas.
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These polls coincide with a bill to decriminalize marijuana in Texas that is being advanced in the Texas House of Representatives. This bill is something that many say is a long time coming for Texas. After President Biden wrecked house on the oil industry, many rig workers found themselves jobless or relocating.
Given the epidemic of meth that tends to follow many of these workers, many regulators have noticed a decrease in its use in recreational states like Alaska. For Texas, this could mean safer workers on the rigs in the state, and a potential to attract back in oil companies with easier-to-maintain drill sites. President Biden may have tried to shutter the gas industry, but thus far he has left marijuana alone, and Texas could certainly grow lots of it.
With ample unusable desert land, the space for major marijuana cultivation areas already exists across the state. As many farms are looking to change directions with an unstable beef economy, these grows could prove to be a lifeline for many small market farmers being put out to pasture by overseas operations. It also could help stem the flow of illegal marijuana into Texas, even if they only allow for medical marijuana to become legal.
The tax implications are another area of growth for the state as well. In places like Alaska, Colorado, and even Oklahoma, the medical market alone allowed them to make major achievements in their state. When Colorado went recreational the state has been able to maintain a healthy amount of growth year in and year out. It’s time to see Texas jump on board this gravy train too.
Previous attempts by the Republican Party of Texas to decriminalize marijuana have failed in 2018 and 2019 at various stages, but with Governor Greg Abbott and his newer Republican ideals, the days of arresting folks for simple possession are supposed to be over. The next logical step is the return of the income that comes with that marijuana use for the state.
Loosen the laws and bring in medical to start. Texans will quickly see that things won’t get worse, and people won’t be going nuts and being stoned in the streets everywhere. Instead, they’ll be enjoying their lives, pain-free, and the state will have a much happier and law-abiding population.