A Kansas lawmaker is under fire for allegedly using a racist logic when he said that marijuana should be illegal because he doesn’t think black people are genetically capable of handling Marijuana.
State Rep. Steve Alford (R) found himself in the middle of controversy during his declaration against legalizing marijuana in Kansas when he used racial comments to explain why Marijuana should not be legalized in Kansas.
“What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas [and] across the United States,” Alford expressed, according to reports. “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African-Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that.”
Kansas is one of the few states that still hasn’t legalized some form of medical marijuana, as gathered from the associated press.
The Telegram went ahead to point out that the lawmakers comments appeared to be originating from the theories of Harry Anslinger, the founding commissioner of what was then called the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which was behind the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
Among the infamous quotes of the Federal Bureau of narcotics that were considered very racial included:
- “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
- “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
- “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its user’s insanity, criminality, and death.”
Alford, however, stood by his remarks when questioned after the meeting, despite being able to cite a specific source to support his comments to the Telegram, he admitted he shouldn’t have singled out African-Americans.
“There are certain groups of people, their genetics, the way their makeup is, the chemicals will affect them differently,” Alford insisted. “What I should have said was drugs affect people differently, instead of being more specific.”
The lawmaker went ahead to deny that his remarks were racist to AP on Monday: “To me, that’s neutral. Basically, I got called a racist, which I’m really not, and it’s just the way people — the interpretation of people. To me, I’m trying to look at what’s really the best for Kansas.”
Carl Brewer, a Democratic candidate for governor, was quick to dismiss Alford’s comments by labeling them inappropriate for a politician in 2018.
“It is hard to believe that in 2018, anyone would support the discredited and racist policies of the Jim Crow-era,” Brewer expressed in a statement to KSN TV. “No matter one’s feelings on medical marijuana and marijuana legalization, we can all agree that views like those of KS Rep. Alford have no place in our statehouse, in our state or in our country.”
State Rep. Valdenia Winn (D), who represents part of Kansas City joined Carl Brewer in discrediting Alford’s comments by terming them as “bizarre.” “He needs to apologize to somebody, if nothing else the individuals of color in his own community,” she told the Wichita Eagle.