When Beto O’Rourke launched his campaign for governor, he made it clear that one of his first priorities would be the legalization of marijuana. Greg Abbott on the other hand, is a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization, which puts him far behind many of his fellow Republicans who have warmed up to the idea of decriminalization in recent years.
Marijuana has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries. In fact, Thomas Jefferson, one of this country’s founding fathers even owned a hemp farm. Only recently, when the United States government under Nixon launched an all-out racist war against marijuana and psychedelics, to target Black and Latino Americans and the anti-war crowd, did the American public turn against the drug.
Anti-marijuana propaganda filled the airwaves with lies of marijuana-induced psychosis and testimonies that marijuana would turn you into a violent criminal or even suicidal, claims that have since been debunked by numerous scientific studies. Nonetheless, the damage was done, and Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1971, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance that has no medical benefits, another claim that modern science has since debunked.
Since then, the American public has come around to the idea of legalization, the latest Gallup poll shows an overwhelming 68% of Americans support legalization. According to a November 2021 poll, two-thirds of Texans support legalization, which makes marijuana legalization a winning issue for Democrats nationwide and here in Texas. However, despite changing public opinion, marijuana remains a Schedule I substance, on par with heroin.
Beto O’Rourke wasted no time mincing words and flat-out promised to legalize marijuana as one of his first priorities if elected governor. This was significant because Texas has never had a candidate for governor who has taken such a clear and strong position on the issue of legalization.
If Texans want to legalize marijuana, there’s only one candidate running for Governor who wants to deliver on that issue, and it’s Beto O’Rourke.
Original photo: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons