In leaked audio, Donald Trump states his belief that marijuana causes users to ‘lose IQ points,’ a statement refuted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
According to the President of the United States, smoking marijuana causes people to “lose IQ points.” That statement comes from a conversation Donald Trump had at a private donor dinner in April 2018, as footage from that night was recently released by Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump’s private attorney Rudy Giuliani.
In the leaked recording, Trump states that he isn’t sure if marijuana legalization is “a good thing or a bad thing.” The conversation was sparked by recent marijuana legalization movements across the country and reflects a different position from Trump than statements he’s previously made in the public eye. In June 2018, Trump was asked about the STATES Act, a bipartisan bill co-authored by Sens. Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren that would give states the ability to create their own cannabis legislation without federal interference.
“I support Senator Gardner,” Trump said when asked if he endorsed the bill. “I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”
The leaked conversation from the private dinner months earlier tells a different tale. Parnas initiated a dialogue with Trump, asking if he would allow access to banking for marijuana companies in legal cannabis states. (Cannabis companies don’t have access to traditional financial services available to other businesses, due to federal regulations.) Trump first seemed confused at the idea.
“You’re talking about marijuana, right?” Trump asks. “Why, you can’t do banking there?” When Parnas explains the problem it poses to marijuana businesses, Trump adds, “It’s all working out. That whole thing’s working out.”
The SAFE Banking Act, which would end federal prosecution from financial institutions offering services to cannabis companies, was passed in the House in a landslide vote last year. The bill currently remains stalled in the Republican-led Senate.
Later, Trump states his opinion on marijuana in the recorded conversations.
“I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing,” says Trump. “Do you think the whole marijuana thing is a good thing?”
“In Colorado they have more accidents,” he adds. “It does cause an IQ problem. You lose IQ points.”
Donald Trump, Jr. eventually comes into the conversation to offer an alternative view on marijuana than his father’s.
“Between that and alcohol, as far as I’m concerned, alcohol does much more damage,” Don Jr. says.
Trump’s belief that marijuana causes you to lose IQ points has been refuted by his own government agency, the National Institute of Drug Abuse. While the agency notes a New Zealand study that shows cognitive decline in middle age following persistent adolescent marijuana use, NIDA denies that adults consuming marijuana causes an IQ problem.
“Recent results from two prospective longitudinal twin studies did not support a causal relationship between marijuana use and IQ loss,” NIDA writes on its website. The agency adds that “no predictable difference was found between twins when one used marijuana and one did not.”