A recent poll by the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group, found that a large majority of Texas voters favor either the decriminalization of pot or outright legalization and regulation (taxation). The poll, conducted September 27-29, surveyed 860 randomly selected Texas voters over the phone and found that 58 percent supported making marijuana legal for adults and–here are the effective action words for politicians to pay attention to–“regulating it like alcohol.” The same percentage support changing state laws to allow for doctor-recommended medical marijuana use. The poll found that even more people (61 percent) supported removing criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce and treating the offense like a traffic ticket, punishable by a fine of up to $100 with no possibility of jail time.
Of course, in Texas, there is a political vacuum on this issue. The hard right could take this up as an individual liberty issue, or as Rodger Jones suggests, as a cost-saving (potential revenue generating) issue that could help the state’s over-incarceration problems. Both could easily be sold to Texas voters. If they don’t, the left could take the issue up as a way to try to bring out new liberal voters. (Insert terrible stereotypical pothead-forgetting-to-vote joke here.) Either way, it’s inevitable. Also: though this fact is probably irrelevant to most politicians, it’s the right thing to do.