The Houston Chronicle reports on a recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, arguably this country’s most accurate pollster, that shows surprising views from Texans on issues of marijuana legalization. A strong majority of Texans not only supported medicinal and decriminalization reforms, but full, untethered legalization of the drug. Full poll results here.
1. Medicinal Marijuana
2. Decriminalization of <1 ounze
3. Full Legalization
It is worth noting that the legalization question mentioned certain burdens, such as taxes, restrictions to licensed stores and an age limit of 21. The question essentially asked Texans to follow in the paths of Colorado and Washington, and Texans were supportive.
I was disappointed to see that the demographic questions involving religiousness were not included. A full 47% of Texas Republicans, however, did support legalization. Women, on average, were more likely to support legalization, as were African-Americans over Hispanics and Caucasians. While younger individuals generally had higher approval for relaxing restrictions, those most in favor were actually ages 30-45, rather than the typically radical 18-29 cohort.
The study validates what true followers of Texas politics have known all along, Texas is not naturally Conservative, it is naturally Libertarian (with a hint of populism, but that is neither here nor there). Texas generally dislike two things: intrusions into their personal life and wastes of tax dollars. The continued prohibition of marijuana does both, and Texans have finally gotten fed up.
One of those fed up Texans is a member of the the United States House of Representatives. Recently, the first Texan co-sponsored the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,” which would bar the DEA from enforcing any Federal drug laws that are not concurred with the State law drugs the agents are currently sojourning therein. Who was the co-sponsor? Sheila Jackson Lee? Lloyd Doggett? Nope, it was Steve Stockman. The Houston Chronicle reports that Rep. Stockman, who arguably is trying to be the most Conservative member of the House, has thrown his support behind the measure.
While Rep. Stockman did not, per se, support legalization, the position change is an important step towards a bipartisan consensus on reforming drug laws.