Like a number of lawmakers, Kansas Rep. Steve Alford (R-Ulysses) wants to keep marijuana usage illegal. One of his reasons behind the stance won’t fare well in the public sphere, however: He recently claimed that black people respond worse to the drug because of their “genetics.”
Alford was advocating a return to the tough marijuana laws of the 1930s, and was trying to explain the reasoning behind the old statutes.
“One of the reasons why–I hate to say it–the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that. And so basically, what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to do a complete reverse with people not remembering what has happened in the past,” he said.
Alford made this statement in a Legislative Coffee session on Saturday at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, Kansas, according to The Garden City Telegram.
“This past weekend I made comments at a town hall in Garden City, Kansas, regarding my opposition to the legalization of marijuana,” he said in a statement obtained by Law&Crime. “As an aside, I also remarked that one of the original reasons behind the criminalization of the drug in the 1930s was its negative effects on society and more specifically the damaging consequences on the African American community. I was wrong, I regret my comments, and I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have hurt. Substance abuse is a blight on our society, and legalizing marijuana only opens the door to harder drugs. I have seen firsthand how drug abuse destroys lives, even within my own family, and I remain committed to fighting the spread of addiction in our state.”
[Screengrab via The Garden City Telegram]