According to a recent poll that was conducted by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune, a notable 77 percent of the 1,200 participants that were surveyed support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes in Texas.
Additionally, practically half of those polled said they believe small amounts of marijuana should be legal to possess and consume for adults 21 and older.Ana Yañez-Correa, executive director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, a policy research group advocating for criminal justice reform, says she believes the poll results reflect the general public’s awareness of our nation’s failed drug policy.
“I’m not surprised at the poll results because people in general understand arresting someone for the use of marijuana is more likely to waste taxpayer dollars and law enforcement’s time than to deter use,” Yañez-Correa avowed. “That’s why you see a national trend of addressing a person’s choice to smoke pot in different ways.”
Datum released by the Department of Public Safety shows that approximately 73,611 adults in Texas were arrested in 2013 for pot possession, which accounts for roughly 59 percent of all drug possession arrests that were made in the state.
As we recently reported, Governor Rick Perry publicized his support for relaxing penalties for marijuana use, and claims he plans on working toward decriminalization in the Lone Star State.
Governor Perry said:
“After 40 years of the war on drugs, I can’t change what happened in the past. What I can do as the governor of the second largest state in the nation is to implement policies that start us toward a decriminalization and keeps people from going to prison and destroying their lives, and that’s what we’ve done over the last decade.”
Under Texas’ current laws regarding marijuana possession, individuals caught holding less than 2 ounces can be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail with a possible fine of up to $2,000.
“How can we as a society deny people who need marijuana for medical treatment,” Yanez-Correa said.
Editor's note: This article originally published on the 420 Times on Thursday, February 28, 2014.
Photo Credit: Chris Schneider / Dallas Morning News