HUD Secretary Ben Carson Spreads Marijuana Myths

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director August 22, 2017
    Photo Credit: Carlo Allegri

    Photo Credit: Carlo Allegri

    Giving remarks to the Native American Housing Association, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson strayed into the marijuana reform debate. Unfortunately, the doctor did not know his facts.

    Per the Flathead Beacon:

    The HUD secretary briefly strayed from his prepared remarks to note that he believed marijuana use was just as problematic as opiate abuse.

    “I’m not all that enthusiastic about marijuana because there have been numerous studies that show exposing a developing brain to marijuana can lead to lower IQs,” he said. “We already have enough people with a low IQ, and we don’t need anymore.”

    The ongoing stereotype of marijuana consumers may be funny in movies, but it runs counter to evidence based science.

    NORML has reported on three studies over the last year and a half that have come out dispelling this myth.

    In London, United Kingdom, researchers concluded, “In summary, the notion that cannabis use itself is causally related to lower IQ and poorer educational performance was not supported in this large teenage sample.”

    Data published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences led researchers to conclude: “In the largest longitudinal examination of marijuana use and IQ change, … we find little evidence to suggest that adolescent marijuana use has a direct effect on intellectual decline. … [T]he lack of a dose-response relationship, and an absence of meaningful differences between discordant siblings lead us to conclude that the deficits observed in marijuana users are attributable to confounding factors that influence both substance initiation and IQ rather than a neurotoxic effect of marijuana.”

    Researchers published in the journal Addiction wrote: “[W]e found that youth who used cannabis … had lower IQ at age 18, but there was little evidence that cannabis use was associated with IQ decline from age 12 to 18. Moreover, although cannabis use was associated with lower IQ and poorer executive functions at age 18, these associations were generally not apparent within pairs of twins from the same family, suggesting that family background factors explain why adolescents who use cannabis perform worse on IQ and executive function tests.”

    Investigators concluded, “Short-term cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to cause IQ decline or impair executive functions, even when cannabis use reaches the level of dependence.”

    Their findings are consistent with those of several other studies – including those here, here, and here– finding that cannabis use alone during adolescence does not appear to have a significant, direct adverse effect on intelligence quotient.

    Further, as to Secretary Carson’s remarks in the context of the nations opioid epidemic, it is important to note that medical marijuana access is associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse, opioid-related hospitalizations, opioid-related traffic fatalities, and opioid-related overdose deaths.

    Don’t let those who speak in outdated rhetoric fool you. Stay vigilant against those who maintain the systems of prohibitionist oppression.

    Click here to tell your member of Congress to join the newly formed Congressional Cannabis Caucus, to find real policy solutions to reforming our nations marijuana laws in our quest to deschedule the plant. 

    33 responses to “HUD Secretary Ben Carson Spreads Marijuana Myths”

    1. steve says:

      Why do we have such misinformed people in our gov’mt disseminate these people.

    2. They lie under oath before Congress and courts across the country about Cannabis’ safety and efficacy.
      Who has standing to sue and where?

    3. Mark Mitcham says:

      Ben Carson is a poor student, and a poor role model. Trump is a fucking Nazi, and a flaming moron. Having said that…

      When neo-fascist Republicans promote reefer madness nonsense, and when neo-liberal Democrats refuse to take a stand against it, you kind of have to start worrying about everybody’s IQ!

      On the bright side (that’s heavy sarcasm), now that Trump is in office, unfettered corporate regulations will ensure plenty of lead in EVERYBODY’S drinking water, which will eventually, over time, “even out” the differences in IQ within American society. Cheers!

      • Evening Bud says:

        Mark, in my few dealings with local politicos, I’ve found GOPers to be almost totally dismissive on the subject of MJ legalization. We’ve got some neoliberal Dems in my state, NM, too, but at least they listen to my comments (on the phone) instead of arguing with me or being dismissive, as the local GOPers invariably are.

        But I totally agree with your comment. I’ll almost always support any Dem running against any neoliberal Dem.

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          @ Evening Bud,

          Agreed; the Democrats are coming around to their senses with regard to cannabis, slowly but surely, while Republicans are hellbent on going in reverse. So, yes, for a marijuana consumer, the choice is clear: Democrats.

          And in criticizing the corporate-owned neo-liberals, I certainly wouldn’t want to create a wedge issue for Republicans to exploit — you know they are already trying to do just that.

          Yet still, it galls me how many Democratic voters and politicians seem to be watching from the sidelines, aloof and condescending. If the Democrats won’t stick up for social justice, the Republicans sure won’t do it! But during the dark days of reefer madness, the old-school liberals took credit for opposing it somewhat, yet still used it to judge us, playing “blame the victim” …and saying things like “you shouldn’t be smoking that stuff, anyway.” And, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” (That’s good advice, but it should never be used to justify marijuana prohibition.)

          Now that legalization is happening all over, the current liberals (as opposed to the progressives) like to show how “hip” they are because they have decided not to “ground the kids” for smoking pot; but they still won’t stick their necks out. Still won’t take ownership or responsibility. “Well, it finally happened,” they say, like legalization dropped from the sky or something. This exasperates me!

          But don’t worry, I’m firmly in The Resistance, no quarter for fascists.

    4. Anonymous says:

      Ben Carson went into Indian Country and said “I don’t like bureaucrats.” That must have gotten a lot of laughs.
      (Psst… Ben, you ARE a bureaucrat now…)

      And he thinks marijuana lowers IQ? Watching Fox News lowers IQ ya sleepy-eyed schmuck. Please will SOMEone in this administration do some research before talking?!

      Laughs aside, comparing marijuana to opiates is criminal. Washington v. Sessions should add this clown to the lawsuit. Exhibit F; another bureaucratic miseducated doctor spreading propaganda so Perdue can profit off of killing Americans.
      While were at it put Perdue and the Sackler family on trial for bribing the DEA and killing Americans for profit. Lets find the breadtrail from Carson to the Sacklers.

    5. TheOracle says:

      Well Dr., your IQ just got a bit lower, if only because you continue to work for Donald Trump, the Nazi-Excuse-Maker. Sure, if students are high when they’re supposed to be studying their grades are going to suffer. Duh! You have that with high school kids who manage to get their hands on it, as well as university students such as the report on students in Maastricht.

      Whatever, Carson!

    6. overgrowem says:

      A Pot Press reporter needs to call this guy out while the lame stream has it’s cameras rolling.

    7. Julian says:

      We had our first big piece of evidence that synthetic opiate companies were against marijuana legalization when Insys Therapuetics, makers of fentanyl with pending patents on synthetic marijuana donated to successfully stop legalization in Arizona.

      This Post article talks about how the FDA and DEA should be investigated and sued for their role in the opiate crisis by allowing oxycontin to get mass produced by the billionaire Sackler family who owns Purdue:


      Of course an investigation from the DOJ will not happen when Jeff Sessions was milking Big Pharma from HealthSouth while Senator… Purdue has a lot to gain from Sessions protecting Purdue from prosecution, especially after their bribing of the DEA and FDA. As USAG Sessions is legally responsible for investigating the connection of oxycontin being overprescribed while marijuana remains in schedule 1, a point that should be raised in Washington v. Sessions.

      The entire administration and Congress is in deep with Purdue. We just have to follow the money… and dead bodies;

      This article from the Atlantic connects “rent seekers” with the opiate crisis:


      Makes me look at HUD in a whole new way… our government and the Sacklers are directly to blame for creating opiate dependence in entirely subsidized addiction communities… from the medicaid to the housing… where opiates become exchange for rent, currency, votes and entire cities of human souls.

    8. Chad robinson says:

      The valid arguments against legalization and decriminalization of cannabis fall on the deaf ears of those that have been bought and paid for by big pharma and prisons for profit. Please change the classification and reign in the FDA regarding Marijuana policy.

    9. propot says:

      Ben is unknowingly promoting legalization. Get it away from adolescent’s by making legal. How many 12 year old drunks do you know?

    10. Evening Bud says:

      Ben Carson reminds me of the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland. He’s continually asleep, but wakes up to say something inane, then promptly returns to dreamland.

      I think Alice in Wonderland may actually be an apropos metaphor for Trump’s presidency: it’s imbued with astounding folly, recklessness and a hint of insanity. Ben Carson, Kelly Ann, Bannon, Scaramooch, they could all fit easily into a Lewis Carroll story.

      “You are odd, preznit Drumpy,” the young aide said, “and your head has become very orange,
      and yet you incessantly talk out of your ass,
      that’s why the deplorables are always confused.”

      “In my youth,” preznit Drumpy replied to the aide,
      “I feared it might injure my brain,
      but now that I know that my ass and head are the same, why I’ll do it again and again. . . . “