Texas Governor Hopeful Beto O’Rourke Rides Pro-Cannabis Stance

Texas Governor Hopeful Beto O’Rourke Rides Pro-Cannabis Stance
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<![CDATA[Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke may be trailing two-term incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott by seven points in a recent poll, but the challenger has continued to push a pro-cannabis stance as one means to gain ground. O’Rourke, who served as a U.S. representative for Texas from 2013 to 2019, and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, has said that if he’s elected the governor of Texas in the November 2022 election, he’ll work to legalize cannabis in the state. He reaffirmed that position March 12 during the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference in Austin, suggesting that the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature would back him on the issue, the Austin American-Statesman reported. “I’ll let you in on a secret: Republicans like to get high just as much as Democrats,” O’Rourke said, speaking during a SXSW panel. Cannabis legalization has become a popular political platform in recent years amidst growing public support, and Texas is no exception. According to a November 2021 survey from the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, 67% of Texans support legalizing adult-use cannabis. But O’Rourke began backing and advocating for reform before it was popular. In January 2009, as a member of the El Paso City Council, O’Rourke sponsored a resolution calling for the repeal of ineffective cannabis laws. He asked his colleagues to “support an open national debate on ending the prohibition of narcotics.” While the council was unanimous in support of that resolution, it was vetoed by then-Mayor John Cook. In 2011, O’Rourke co-authored the book, Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico, which in part argues in favor of legalizing cannabis. This notable political stance was highlighted by The Dallas Morning News in his 2018 U.S. Senate run against Texas incumbent Republican Sen. Ted…

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