The overwhelming majority of Texans' support relaxing the state's current restrictions on marijuana for both medical and recreational use, a new study found.
According to the survey from the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston, 82% of Texans support legalizing marijuana for medical use. A majority of Texans also support legalizing marijuana for recreational use for adults age 21 and older.
"Attitudes about the use of marijuana have been evolving over the past few decades, and we found especially strong support for expanding the use of medical marijuana," said Renée Cross, senior executive director and researcher at the Hobby School. "But a majority of Texans across-the-board – across partisan, generational and racial and ethnic lines – also said they support legalization for recreational use."
Currently, the state only allows the use of medical cannabis containing 1% THC by weight or less for a small number of medical conditions.
Twenty-one states have legalized recreational use of marijuana so far, the most recent of which was Missouri, which did so by referendum in November 2022. Thirty-seven states have legalized medical use.
There were some differences in opinion along political party and religious lines, noted Mark P. Jones, senior research fellow at the Hobby School and political science fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.
"A significant minority of Texans, especially those who identify as Republican, Independent and born-again Christian, say they personally do not favor easing state regulations," Jones said. "Almost one out of five Texans, or 18%, said they would prefer no change to the state's current marijuana laws."
Cross believes it is unlikely any legalization of recreational marijuana will happen this legislative session in Austin, though we may see restrictions loosened for medical use.
"If anything, I think we'll see the diseases or illnesses allowed probably expanded," she said. "So in essence, it will make it easier to get a prescription for medical marijuana in Texas."
The study surveyed 1,200 Texans age 18 and older between Jan. 9 and Jan. 19, 2023. The full report is available on the Hobby School website.