Southwest Kansas Lawmaker Apologizes For Racist Remarks

Southwest Kansas Lawmaker Apologizes For Racist Remarks

Southwest Kansas Lawmaker Apologizes For Racist Remarks

Amid the marijuana legalization movement slowly sweeping across the United States, a Kansas state representative argued marijuana should be illegal in his state because African-American "genetics" and "character makeup" can't handle its effects.

State Rep. Steve Alford, a 75-year-old Republican from Ulysses in the state's southwestern corner, apologized Monday for remarks he made Saturday during a public meeting at a hospital in Garden City. "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".

Alford was responding to Zach Worf, president of Finney County Democrats, who argued that legalizing marijuana could be an economic boon for Kansas.

Alford said during a town hall Saturday in Garden City that black people were "users" and responded worst to the drug due to their "character makeup" and "genetics", according to the Garden City Telegram.

Rep. Steve Alford stoked outrage with his comments about African-Americans and marijuana.


As the Telegram noted in their report, Alford's comments referenced a belief promoted by marijuana prohibitionist Harry Anslinger, the founding commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. "I was wrong, I regret my comments, and I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have hurt".

"Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men", Anslinger said once when explaining why marijuana supposedly caused crime and violence.

Anslinger reportedly once commented that, "There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the USA, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers". Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. 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.

"It is hard to believe that in 2018, anyone would support the discredited and racist policies of the Jim Crow era", Brewer said, the Topka-Journal reported. It was only afterward that fellow Republicans said they disagreed with his remarks.

It's not clear what metric Alford is using here to gauge if someone is racist, but one handy yardstick is "doing and saying racist things".

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.

"He came up and told me I'm a racist", Alford told The Topeka Capital-Journal.

"As to the racial component, I don't agree with it", he continued, adding, "I know Rep. Alford quite well".

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