President Donald Trump says he believes that cannabis makes people “lose IQ points.” This is according to a secret recording of a private dinner conversation in April of 2018 between President Trump and associate Lev Parnas.
The secret recording was released just last week by Parnas’ attorney, Joseph Bondy. Bondy also happens to be the lead attorney in an ongoing federal lawsuit against the Justice Department, aimed at removing cannabis from its current status as a Schedule I narcotic.
“In Colorado, they have more accidents. It does cause an IQ problem,” said Trump, referring to legal cannabis in Colorado. Later in the same clip, in reference to federal banks being unable to take funds from businesses selling cannabis, Trump asked Parnas, “Cannabis, look, you’re talking about marijuana, right? You can’t do banking there?” Parnas went on to reply, “That’s the biggest problem, because none of the banks accept the money.”
Trump responded to Parnas’ comment, saying, “All working out. That whole thing is working out. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.” Donald Trump Jr. was also present at the dinner and can be heard saying on the recording that “alcohol does much more damage." You don’t see people beating their wives on marijuana. It’s just different,” said Trump Jr.
Donald Trump's stance on marijuana is unclear
Prior to the contested 2016 election, Trump’s public stance on cannabis legalization has remained unclear. “We’re losing badly the war on drugs. You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars," said Trump in April of 1990 at a Miami Herland lunceon.
During his campaign for president, then-President-elect Trump expressed his support of legalization on the state level. “In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” said Trump. Unfortunately, despite those statements, once elected, President Trump appointed now-former Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general, seriously calling into question whether his administration intended to legalize marijuana.
Sessions has been a staunch opponent of any move towards legalizing cannabis. Back in 2016, Sessions told the Major Cities Chiefs of Police Association that “good people don’t smoke marijuana" at a CPAC conference in June.
Who is Lev Parnas?
Parnas has been repeatedly implicated in the impeachment scandal that continues to sweep the nation. According to the recent indictment, President Trump allegedly withheld vital humanitarian aid approved by Congress and intended for the Ukraine.
This was in exchange for an announcement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of an investigation into corruption involving the Bidens and the Ukrainian oil and gas company, Burisma. Parnas has worked directly with the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, on issues involving Ukraine.
In a recent CNN interview, Parnas told Anderson Cooper that his work with Giuliani was “all about 2020.” “That was the way everyone viewed it. That was the most important thing, for him to stay on for four years and keep the fight going. I mean, there was no other reason for doing it," said Parnas.