A GOP lawmaker in Kansas said that African-Americans "responded the worst" to marijuana because of their "genetics" and "character makeup."
State Rep. Steve Alford (R) said at a “Legislative Coffee” session on Saturday that Jim Crow-era policies banning drugs such as pot were to protect other citizens from the drug use of black Americans.
“Basically any way you say it, marijuana is an entry drug into the higher drugs,” Alford said, as first reported by The Garden City Telegram. “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.”
“What was the reason why they did that? 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 to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that,” he continued.
“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.”
Alford was talking to a crowd with no black people present, according to the Telegram.
The lawmaker was responding to an argument by Zach Worf, president of Finney County Democrats, in favor of legalizing marijuana in Kansas, saying it could help the state’s economy.
Worf said he later told Alford that his comments were “the most racist thing [he had] ever heard.”
Other Republican state lawmakers later disagreed with Alford’s comments.