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”:
Representative Steve Alford (R-Ulysses), in a press release, issued the following apology regarding recent comments made during a town hall:
“This past weekend I made comments at a town hall in Garden City, Kansas, regarding my opposition to the legalization of marijuana. As an aside, I also remarked that one of the original reasons behind the criminalization of the drug in the 1930s was its negative effects on society and more specifically the damaging consequences on the African American community. I was wrong, I regret my comments, and I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have hurt.
“Substance abuse is a blight on our society, and legalizing marijuana only opens the door to harder drugs. I have seen firsthand how drug abuse destroys lives, even within my own family, and I remain committed to fighting the spread of addiction in our state.”
Kansas House leaders say they don’t know if they’ll take action against a white lawmaker who suggested that blacks had a genetic predisposition to abusing drugs.
Republican House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr. said Monday that the comments of fellow GOP state Rep. Steve Alford don’t reflect the Legislature’s views and are disappointing.
Republican House Majority Leader Don Hineman says he doesn’t condone the remarks.
Ryckman said they will consult with other lawmakers and the Legislature’s staff about how to respond.
The 75-year-old Alford argued in a public meeting Saturday 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.”
A 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 western part 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.
When asked about his remarks by The Associated Press on Monday, Alford declined to elaborate, other than to say: “To me, that’s neutral.” He also said he’s not a racist.
Click here to see the Garden City Telegram video.
Carl Brewer, a candidate for Kansas governor, responded.
“It is hard to believe that in 2018, anyone would support the discredited and racist policies of the Jim Crow-era.
However, this type of ignorance has been allowed to fester due to a lack of leadership from Topeka on protecting rights for all Kansans. It’s time to change that.
No matter ones 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.”