Even though poll results show that most Texans agree on legalizing pot, current Republican Governor and runner for upcoming election Greg Abbott is against it. On the other hand, democrat candidate Beto O’Rourke recently said on Twitter, that if elected, he will legalize it.
According to a Dallas Morning News-University of Texas at Tyler poll released on Sunday, 91% of Democrats, 85% of independents and 75% of Republicans that form the pool of Texas registered voters agree with the legalization of marihuana in the state. That is an overall 85% approval.
Greg Abbott said during a news conference that despite the poll results that show that the majority of Texans agree on the legalization of marihuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, he does not support reducing criminal penalties for the possession of said drug, let alone the legalization of it.
Despite being against this, he did state that the laws regarding marihuana had to change. What he would be willing to do is to reduce the crime of possession of the plant to a Class C demeanor at most.
This hesitance to support the legalization reflects the solid support he has from Republican voters, the ones most likely to be against it. Most don’t back the legalization of recreational uses, with only 42% of Republican voters who do, compared with 76% of Democrat voters.
In this sense, Democrat candidate Beto O’Rourke has expressed his desire to make the legalization of marihuana real in Texas, where at the moment it is only legal for very specific medicinal uses since 2015, and the illegal possession of it can mean up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000.
O’Rourke has rallied for its legalization, along with expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a government-funded health insurance plan for which around 2.2 low-income adults in Texas would be eligible. He has stated in his speeches and in social media that he believes these measures will help all Texans, including Black and Hispanic communities, often targeted by police and in need of health insurance.