Kansas lawmaker quits leadership posts after comments about black 'genetics' and marijuana

Kansas lawmaker quits leadership posts after comments about black 'genetics' and marijuana

A Kansas state lawmaker has reportedly stepped down from two leadership posts after making controversial comments about African-Americans and marijuana.

State Rep. Steve Alford (R), who said over the weekend that African-Americans respond “worst” to marijuana because of “their genetics” and “character makeup,” resigned from his posts as the chairman of the House Children and Seniors Committee and vice chairman of a legislative task force on child welfare, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Alford made the comments at a “Legislative Coffee” session, arguing against a county Democratic official who spoke in favor of legalizing marijuana in the state.

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Alford argued that Jim Crow-era bans on drugs were put in place to protect citizens from black Americans’ drug use.

“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,” Alford said. “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.”

Alford later apologized for the comments in a statement, according to The Hutchinson News, after facing major backlash from Republicans and Democrats.

“I was wrong, I regret my comments and I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have hurt,” Alford said.