Source: Submitted by steveelliott on Fri, 02/28/2014 –

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An overwhelming 77 percent of Texans, more than three of every four, support legalizing medical marijuana, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune survey, which polled 1,200 voters, found just 23 percent of respondents said cannabis should remain illegal in all cases in Texas, reports Kolten Parker at My San Antonio. Almost half of those polled — 49 percent — said marijuana should be legal for all adults, including for recreational uses, either in small quantities (32 percent) or any amount (17 percent).

“I’m not surprised at the poll results because people in general understand arresting someone for the use of marijuana is more likely to waste taxpayer dollars and law enforcement’s time than to deter use,” said Ana Yañez-Correa, executive director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. “That’s why you see a national trend of addressing a person’s choice to smoke pot in different ways.”

“When people look at the negative financial ramifications for marijuana possession arrests, they see millions of dollars wasted,” Yañez-Correa said. “That’s why you see libertarians, members of the Tea Party and Democrats all saying the same thing.

“How can we, as a society, deny people who need marijuana for medical treatment?” Yañez-Correa asked.

“This is one of the areas where the liberal meets the libertarian in Texas political culture,” said Jim Henson, who heads the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas-Austin and codirected the poll, reports Ross Ramsey at The Texas Tribune. “You’ve got social conservative opposition, strongest in rural area and among Republicans.

“It’s not a surprise that Texas was not on the front line of [legalization], given that most of the opposition here is among conservatives and Republicans,” Henson said. “But you can look at this and see where the movement is going to come from.”

Around 73,611 adults were arrested for marijuana possession in Texas last year, according to the Department of Public Safety. Those arrests accounted for 59 percent of all drug possession arrests in the state.

While Republican Gov. Rick Perry recently bragged about Texas’ drug courts at an international conference, claiming he supports states’ rights to legalize cannabis, he predicted Texas would not do so anytime soon.


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