AUSTIN, Texas — A strong majority of Texas voters (58 percent) support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday by the Marijuana Policy Project. Only 38 percent said they were opposed.

“Marijuana prohibition has been just as big a failure as alcohol prohibition,” said MPP executive director Rob Kampia, a part-time Austin resident. “Most Texans agree that marijuana sales should be conducted by legitimate businesses instead of drug cartels in the underground market.”

The poll also found that 61 percent of state voters support removing criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and replacing them with a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100 with no possibility of jail time. Only 30 percent said they were opposed. Under current Texas law, it is a criminal offense for a person to possess a small amount of marijuana, and he or she can be sentenced to up to one year in jail and fined up to $2,000.

“Law enforcement officials’ time would be better spent addressing violent crimes instead of adults simply possessing marijuana,” Kampia said. “No adult should face potentially life-altering criminal penalties for using a product that is significantly less harmful than alcohol.”

Most Texas voters (58 percent) support changing state law to allow seriously and terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Just 31 percent said they are opposed.

 “There is ample research demonstrating the medical benefits of marijuana in the treatment of several debilitating conditions,” Kampia said. “People suffering from cancer and multiple sclerosis should not face the threat of arrest for using medical marijuana if their doctors believe it will help ease their suffering.”

The survey of 860 randomly selected Texas voters was conducted Sept. 27-29 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent. The full results are available at http://www.mpp.org/TXpoll.

The Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization, has been responsible for changing most state-level marijuana laws since 2000. For more information, visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.