A poll conducted at the end of September shows that 58% of Texas voters favor taxing and regulating marijuana in their state. Texas currently does not allow marijuana, either recreationally or for medical uses. In fact, an adult faces up to a year of jail time and a $2,000 fine for possession of even small amounts of marijuana. Despite the harsh current policy, 61% of Texans supported removing criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and implementing a $100 fine instead. Only 30% of those polled said they were against removing the criminal penalties, and remarkably only 38% said they would oppose a measure to tax and regulate marijuana.
Removing the threat of arrest could be a momentous change for the nearly 1.5 million adult marijuana users living in Texas, where 68,758 adults were arrested for simple marijuana possession in 2007 alone. It is estimated that in 2006, Texas spent over $655 million on marijuana arrests, yet marijuana use continues to increase.
Rob Kampia, part-time Texas resident and MPP executive director, commented on the poll:
Marijuana prohibition has been just as big a failure as alcohol prohibition. Most Texans agree that marijuana sales should be conducted by legitimate businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market.
Law enforcement officials’ time would be better spent addressing violent crimes instead of adults simply possessing marijuana. No adult should face potentially life-altering criminal penalties for using a product that is significantly less harmful than alcohol.
You can read the full results of the poll here.