Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently weighed in on marijuana use and policy during an interview with the Hoover Institution, warning of negative effects from using the drug while also arguing against incarceration for such behavior.
“What I think is that if your kid or one of his friends goes out and gets caught with marijuana, sticking them in prison is a big mistake,” he explained during the exchange, first reported by Raw Story. “So I don’t really believe in prison sentences for these minor, non-violent drug offenses, but I’m not willing to go all the way to say it is a good idea either. I think people who use marijuana all the time lose IQ points, I think they lose their drive to show up for work.”
(Watch Paul's comments around the 19-minute mark in the video above.)
Studies that have claimed to show a correlation between marijuana use and lower IQ have been viewed skeptically by many in the scientific community, though many studies and users themselves do report a loss of motivation while high.
Paul went on to say he believed states should determine their own laws regarding marijuana and that he supported states like California that are currently battling with federal authorities over the differing strictures. He also stressed that he didn't want to encourage kids to use the drug by arguing against a harsh enforcement policy, a line that he has used before.
“I don't want to promote that, but I also don't want to put people in jail who make a mistake," Paul said in March. "There are a lot of young people who do this, and then later on in their twenties they grow up and get married and they quit doing things like this. I don't want to put them in jail and ruin their lives."