The latest data from Public Policy Polling shows that nearly three-in-five Texans (58%) support "changing Texas law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol." The poll, commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), asked 860 Texans three questions related to marijuana policy and on all three, the same three-in-five margin supported liberalizing marijuana laws in the Lone Star State.
When asked whether they "support or oppose a change in the law to make it a civil, not criminal, offense to possess an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use," the same 58% of Texans agreed that marijuana use should be decriminalized.
When asked whether they "support or oppose changing the law in Texas to allow seriously and terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana," support increased slightly to 61% of Texans that would support protecting patients who use cannabis as medicine.
MPP's director, Rob Kampia, now a part-time resident of Austin, said, "Most Texans agree that marijuana sales should be conducted by legitimate businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market. No adult should face potentially life-altering criminal penalties for using a product that is significantly less harmful than alcohol."
Interestingly, the gender gap usually found in marijuana legalization polls is not found in Texas. Where other polls have shown women's support for legalization to trail men's support by five to ten percentage points, the Texas poll shows women slightly more supportive of legalization than men, by a difference of 59% to 57%. Women and men had identical 61% support for decriminalization in Texas and women had more support for medical marijuana, at 59% versus men's 56% support.
Unsurprisingly, Republicans were not quite as supportive of legalization, with less than half (48%) of GOP voters backing Colorado/Washington-style legalization in Texas. However, Republican majorities support both decriminalization (55%) and medical marijuana (50%). Democrats in the state back legalization, with 70% overall support and 53% "strongly support[ing]" taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol. Two-thirds of Texas Dems support medical marijuana (67%) and decriminalization (66%).
When broken down by racial and ethnic demographics, support for marijuana reform still remains a majority issue. Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to support legalization and medical marijuana than Whites, but Hispanics are less likely to support decriminalization than Blacks and Whites.
Every age group supports marijuana legalization, ranging from 52% of senior citizens (older than 65) to 63% among those of middle age (30-45). However, young people age 18-29 fail to give majority support to both medical marijuana and decriminalization, with sizable percentages (32% and 14%, respectively) answering "Not sure" on the issues.