More than 90 percent of local residents surveyed favor legalization of up to 4 ounces of cannabis
DAVID STONE |OUR TOWN TEMPLE with contributions by SCHEDULE 6 FOUNDATION
Texas voters overwhelmingly support legalizing marijuana and about four in five residents say cannabis should be legal for medical or recreational use, according to a new poll conducted by the University of Texas Politics Project.
As lawmakers prepare for a 2023 session in which several marijuana-related reform bills already have been filed, the UT survey suggests Texas voters favor change, with 55 percent saying that they believe cannabis possession should be legal for any purpose. Another 28 percent said marijuana should be legal for medical purposes only, while just 17 percent said it shouldn’t be legal at all.
According to a Our Town Temple poll conducted via social media, the vast majority of local residents think Texans should be free to “twist one up” if they so desire.
When asked if Texas should legalize the possession of up to 4 ounces of marijuana for adult use, just over 90 percent of those responding to the survey said “Yes.” Nearly 10 percent favored leaving Texas’ current marijuana laws and policies in place.
Many of those who favor legalization hope that means easier access to medical marijuana for those who need relief.
Leslie Vega of Temple said she favors legalizing marijuana use for both medical and recreational purposes.
“I believe marijuana truly helps people with a lot of pain, especially pain related to cancer,” she said.
David Scott Hudec, also from Temple, believes the Texas Legislature should take legalization a step further than marijuana.
“Texas should legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use for adults, and legalize mushrooms for medical use as well,” Hudec said.
Although State Rep. Hugh Shine could not be reached for comment today, he did discuss legalization with Our Town Temple last year. When asked for his thoughts on legalizing marijuana for recreational use, he had no pause.
“I do not support the legalization of marijuana or any other illegal drug, and I do not support decriminalizing offenses associated with the sale, distribution or use of illegal drugs,” he said at the time.
In the UT poll, Democrats came out strongest in favor of marijuana reform — 72 percent expressed support for general legalization and another 19 percent said it should be legal only for medical use. Independents followed with 57 percent for total legalization and 31 percent supporting medical usage alone.
Although Republicans were less supportive of marijuana reform than their counterparts, 41 percent still said cannabis should be legalized for any use and 36 percent favored allowing medical marijuana only.
Texas current medical marijuana policies have been widely criticized for being too restrictive and difficult to obtain. Through the Texas Compassionate Use Program, Texans with epilepsy, autism, cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder can legally access low-THC cannabis oil with no more than 1 percent THC by weight.