Kansas State Rep. Steve Alford (R)-Ulysses said during a legislative coffee session that the reason cannabis should remain illegal is that African-Americans are genetically made up to not handle their weed, reported The Huffington Post this morning. He pointed to the late ’30s as an example, when Reefer Madness was real and Harry J. Anslinger was head of the then Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
“Basically any way you say it, marijuana is an entry drug into the higher drugs,” Alford pontificated. “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.”
Wait for it…
“What was the reason why they did that?” he asked slyly to the group of around 60 people. “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. 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.”
And what has happened in the past? In the past 80 years, since Anslinger’s own racist pursuit of sobriety for all, is that people of color have been singled out and persecuted. From the days when Anslinger was able to say with impunity, “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” to now, where the numbers show that people of color and white people use drugs at the same rate, yet if one has tint to their skin they are much more likely to be harassed and arrested.
After the coffee hour, Alford was asked if he stood by his comments, and he did. However, when asked yet again to clarify, Alford admitted he had no sources for his “science” and went on to say, “There are certain groups of people, their genetics, the way their makeup is, the chemicals will affect them differently. That’s what I should have said was drugs affect people differently instead of being more specific.”
Not much of a retraction. He did deny to the Associated Press that he is a racist. Time will tell if we are able to tolerate Alford and his brand of politics as a Representative of our great nation. Carl Brewer, a Democratic candidate in Kansas, remarked to KSN TV, “It is hard to believe that in 2018, anyone would support the discredited and racist policies of the Jim Crow-era. 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.”