TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on a Kansas state lawmaker’s remarks that marijuana and other drugs originally were outlawed in part because blacks “responded worst” to them because of “genetics and that” (all times local):
A white Kansas state lawmaker has apologized for suggesting that blacks have a genetic predisposition to abusing drugs.
Republican state Rep. Steve Alford, of the western Kansas town of Ulysses, said in a statement that he was wrong and regrets the remarks he made Saturday during public meeting at a hospital.
He said: “I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have hurt.”
At the meeting, The 75-year-old Alford argued against legalizing any use of marijuana. He suggested it and other drugs were originally outlawed in part because blacks were “basically users” and “responded worst” to the drugs because of their “character makeup — their genetics and that.”
Alford said in his statement that he opposes legalizing any use of marijuana because doing so opens the door to harder drugs.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A white Kansas state lawmaker arguing against the legalization of any use of marijuana suggested that it and other drugs were originally outlawed in part because blacks were “basically users” and “responded worst” to the drugs because of their “character makeup — their genetics and that.”
State Rep. Steve Alford, a 75-year-old Republican from Ulysses, in the west of the state, made the comments Saturday during a public meeting at a hospital in Garden City. The Garden City Telegram first reported on the statement Monday and posted a video of it to YouTube.
Kansas is one of the few remaining states that haven’t legalized some form of medical marijuana, including low-THC marijuana derivatives that can’t get a user high. But the legalization question has been percolating in Kansas in recent years.
At the meeting, Alford referenced a time in the 1930s when marijuana was prohibited.
“What was the reason they did that?” he asked a crowd of about 60 people, none of whom were black. “One of the reasons why — I hate to say it — is the African-Americans, they were basically users and they responded the worst off to those drugs. It’s 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 of the people not remembering what’s happened in the past.”
Asked about his remarks Monday by The Associated Press, Alford said: “I’m not going make any more remarks about that. 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.”
Alford said the marijuana issue is very important to him because he believes it’s a gateway drug that introduces user to other drugs.
“I’m really looking for the safety of the people of Kansas, the children of Kansas, the adults of Kansas,” Alford said during a brief interview.