State Sen. Wendy Davis expresses support for medical marijuana

Jeremy Thomas

As Texans and UT students continue to debate whether medical marijuana should be allowed in the state, gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Wendy Davis expressed her support for it in an interview with the Dallas Morning News Editorial Board on Tuesday. 

“With regard to medical marijuana, I personally believe that medical marijuana should be allowed for,” Davis said in the interview. “I don’t know where the state is on that, as a population. Certainly as governor I think it’s important to be deferential to whether the state of Texas feels that it’s ready for that.”

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, Gov. Rick Perry said he opposed full legalization of marijuana but is looking for ways to reduce jail time for some nonviolent marijuana users. 

Twenty states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana usage for medical purposes. In accordance with Texas penal codes, the possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor, which could result in fines and jail time. 

Representatives of the Greg Abbott campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

A 2011 poll, sponsored by Texas Lyceum and conducted by UT researchers, found that one-third of Texans support the legalization of marijuana. 

Michelle Willoughby, government and Plan II Honors junior and communications director of University Democrats, said she doesn’t think there are many single-issue voters whose single issue is medical marijuana.

“I doubt this issue will have a huge effect on the gubernatorial race,” Willoughby said. “While I think every issue is important, I think the most ‘hot button’ issues currently are probably reproductive health care access, education, roads [and] transportation and gun control. I think marijuana is probably a little lower down most voters’ priorities.”

Zach Berberich, accounting junior and communications director of College Republicans of Texas, wrote in a statement that the organization could not comment on the issue at this time.

Physics junior Lisandro Rodriguez Jr. said he feels there are benefits to legalization.

“If it serves a medical purpose and can help people by all means use it,” Rodriguez said. “It has the potential to make money if it is legalized too. Legalize it, put a high tax on it and let people do as they please.”