The state of Texas is known for many things: steaks, big hats, cows, George W. Bush. One thing Texas is not known for is leniency when it comes to things like cannabis. But that is slowly changing.
Just four years ago only 33% of Texans supported cannabis legalization; that number is now up to 46%. While 50% still oppose recreational legalization, a 13-point jump in only four years is quite impressive, especially in a state as conservative as Texas.
Other numbers out of the new Texas Lyceum Poll revealed that 57% of Texans support lesser penalties for marijuana offenses, while only 39% support leaving the laws the way they are.
When you talk about national legalization, states like Texas have to be in the conversation. We are talking about possibly millions of cannabis users, just in one state—millions of people that can’t move to another state, so legalization will have to come to them.
Make no mistake, it will likely be several years before cannabis users in the Lone Star State will be able to legally use marijuana, even for strictly medical purposes. But good poll numbers have to come first before most politicians will even consider something as stigmatized as cannabis legalization.
Now it’s up to activists in Texas to turn these rising poll numbers into action, whether in the state legislature or at the ballot box. Legalization with 33% approval is impossible; 46% is on the verge of a majority. Once you’re in the 50%-60% range, legalization becomes a distinct possibility.
The key is noise. Those who approve of marijuana legalization need to make as much noise as they can. In a state as big as Texas, it’s going to take a lot of noise to bring about freedom for the cannabis users there.