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Beto O'Rourke promises marijuana legalization after winning governor nomination

Taking on incumbent Greg Abbott in the Fall, O'Rourke says "we can get that done".

WACO, Texas — After clinching the Democratic nomination for Texas governor, Beto O'Rourke took the stage and made a promise that could possibly define his fall campaign.

"And don't you think it's time we legalize marijuana in the state of Texas? I do too. We can get that done", O'Rouke said. 

A heavy promise, but one that he may be able to deliver on.

According to a study done at the University of Texas at Austin, the percentage of Texas voters that favor legalization of marijuana has been trending upward since 2010.  

Back in 2010, there was 60/40 split against legalization. Today, those numbers have flipped to favor legalization.

Baylor Political Professor Pat Flavin says the signs of moving toward legalization are there. "About a year from now, there could be serious consideration of decriminalization," Flavin said. "Or at least reducing the penalties particularly for small amounts of possession."

The Texas chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also know as Texas NORML, has been laying the groundwork for Texas voters to learn about the legalization of marijuana and the people in power who support their cause.

The executive producer for Texas NORML, Jax James, says her organization is trying to make a big push while legislation drags their feet. 

"There's a lot of local action going on trying to push and give upward momentum to this through the legislature," James says. But if it was up to the will of the people, we would have had a robust medical cannabis market about eight years ago, maybe even 10."

Legalization was thought to be impossible in Texas years ago. But as times change and progress is made, some conversations change tone over time.

James says that ultimately the time to push is now and prohibitionists should embrace the changing times.

"For the rare few prohibitionists that are left out there. I think that many of the issues that people have with cannabis can be addressed in thoughtful ways," James says. "We can make regulation that works for the state of Texas and empowers both businesses and consumers. To engage in a robust market which we deserve here in the state of Texas."

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