Kansas Republican Lawmaker Says African-Americans Can't Handle Marijuana Because Of "Genetics"

GOP Lawmaker Steve Alford Blacks Can’t Handle Marijuana Because ‘Genetics

A Republican member of the Kansas House of Representatives sparked outrage Monday with a racially-charged claim that African American people's character and genetics make them more susceptible to use of marijuana.

State Rep. Steve Alford (R) spoke out on Saturday against legalizing pot using the type of racist "logic" commonly heard when "Reefer Madness" was considered a serious documentary. "They basically responded the worst off those drugs just because (of) their character makeup, their genetics, and that".

While commenting against marijuana use, Alford had cited the historic record for why so many drugs, including cannabis, were outlawed in the U.S. in the '30's. "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".

Aslinger was appointed the founding commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narctoics and campaigned for a stop to marijuana use because he said it caused crime and violence, using racist language such as "Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men" and "There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negros, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers".

Governor Sam Brownback said, "I completely disagree with the comments made by Representative Steve Alford".

The comments have received national attention after Alford made negative reference of marijuana use by African-Americans.

Obviously, the racist comments set off a scorching round of criticism.

Alford has since apologized for the remark, saying what he was referring to were drugs' "damaging effects on the African-American community".

Alford could face discipline from the House Republican leadership, but House Speaker Ron Ryckman said it was too early to tell what might be appropriate. Instead of seeing drug prohibition as a means to achieving racist ends, Alford took away that the minority races, blacks in particular, had been reacting to the drugs in a worse way than whites. Ryckman said he and House Majority Leader Don Hineman would review the issue and relevant policies with staff.

Alford said he has "seen firsthand how drug abuse destroys lives", including in his own family, and said he is "committed to fighting the spread of addiction in our state".

"They're the one that brought the racial part in", he said.

That's when Alford drifted into the remarks suggesting somehow that race and the reaction to marijuana are connected, a notion far removed from any science but one that Alford suggested triggered anti-marijuana laws in the 1930s. After repeated questions, he said: "And he came up and told me I'm a racist", Alford said.

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