Texas has some of the most restrictive marijuana laws in the US. Being the second-largest state in the country, Texas is home to 28 million people. The state legalized medical marijuana for epilepsy patients in 2015, and the list of qualified illnesses for treatment with medical marijuana expanded a few months ago. Recreational marijuana is currently illegal in the state.
Texas marijuana laws
Medical marijuana was illegal in Texas for all medical conditions until 2015. At that time, Governor Greg Abbott approved a Senate bill to allow the use of medical cannabis for epilepsy patients. The bill allows patients to use cannabis oil with less than 0.5% THC. It passed with nearly an 84% vote in the Senate.
Abbott expanded the qualifying conditions in June 2019. The laws regarding THC levels and doctors’ approvals remained the same. The bill now legalized the use of medical marijuana for terminal cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Adult-use recreational cannabis is illegal in Texas, and the state’s punishments for marijuana possession are strict. People possessing cannabis up to two ounces can face up to 180 days in prison or a $2,000 fine. However, Some municipalities in Texas have passed reforms for lesser penalties.
Texans opinion on legalization
Texas remains one of the more conservative US states. However, the majority of Texans support the legalization of marijuana. In a recent poll by Emerson Polling, 38% of Texans showed their support for legalization for both medical and recreational purposes. Also, 35% of Texans are supportive of its legalization for medical use only. A total of 13% support decriminalization, and 14% oppose legalization or decriminalization.
In the US political circle, Democrats are more supportive about legalizing than Republicans and Independents. Among the state’s Democrats, 54% are interested in full legalization, whereas 27% prefer legalizing only for medical use. On the flip side, 22% of Republicans support the full legalization of marijuana, whereas 44% would prefer to legalize only medical marijuana. Among Independent candidates, 39% support full legalization, and 35% support legalizing medical marijuana.
As per a Texas Tribune poll in 2018, 84% of Texans are interested in legalizing marijuana. Of that amount, 30% support legalizing marijuana in smaller quantities. While 23% support the legalization of any quantity, 21% support legalization only for medical purposes. Only 16% of Texans believe marijuana should remain illegal. The younger generation supports legalization more than the older generation. As per the poll, 59% of adults under 30 support legalizing cannabis.
However, the numbers keep falling for older generations. Only 56% of Texans between 30 and 64 support legalization, while only 40% above the age of 64 showed their support. Even though the change in the state’s laws is happening slowly, it seems to indicate a gradual shift toward legalization.