GOP lawmaker: Marijuana is illegal because it affects black people differently due to ‘their genetics’

Thanks to a Kansas GOP lawmaker, an old Jim Crow myth that claimed black people are more sensitive to the effects of marijuana due to their genetic predisposition is now being resurrected.

In a speech this weekend, Kansas State Rep. Steve Alford said one of the main reasons pot was criminalized in the 1930s was because of the way it affected African Americans.

“Basically any way you say it, marijuana is an entry drug into the higher drugs,” Alford said. “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 off 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.”

As pointed out by the Garden City Telegram, Alford’s comments originate from a belief system promoted by pot prohibitionist Harry Anslinger.

Under Anslinger’s leadership, the FBN came to be considered responsible for the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, regulating cannabis and further taxing it to the ultimate detriment of the hemp industry that was booming at the time.

From 1930 to 1937, Anslinger campaigned for prohibition against the use of the cannabis plant. He postulated that marijuana caused crime and violence, saying, “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

Anslinger also said the primary reasoning for marijuana prohibition was founded in the prevention of “its effect on the degenerate races.”

Watch video of Alford’s speech below:

Update: News outlets are reporting that Alford has resigned from two committee leadership jobs after his comments invoked a backlash from both Democrats and Republicans.

From KWCH 12:

Republican state Rep. Steve Alford of the western Kansas town of Ulysses stepped down Tuesday as chairman of the House Children and Seniors Committee and vice chairman of a legislative task force on child welfare.

Alford resigned from those positions a day after apologizing for remarks he made Saturday at a public meeting in Garden City.

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Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.