Lawmaker Says Marijuana Must Stay Illegal Since Blacks Are ‘Genetically’ Addicts

Now that more Americans than ever (61 percent) support marijuana legalization, certain conservative lawmakers have to work extra hard to spin why keeping pot illegal is necessary. On Sunday, State Representative Steve Alford, a Republican from Kansas, invented one of the most dreadful excuses: black people are to blame.

When asked at a public meeting about his position on legalizing weed, Rep. Alford spoke against such an idea, bringing up some strange and racist notions in an unsuccessful attempt to make his case.

“One of the reasons why – I hate to say it – the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off those drugs just because their character makeup, their genetics and that,” he said.

Read it twice if you have to: Alford told constituents that the reason politicians have to outlaw marijuana is because blacks’ character and DNA predisposes them to addiction.

While that assertion shouldn’t warrant explanation, just in case it does for someone, science does not support that claim. Research has showed that African Americans are less likely to develop substance abuse disorders than whites and Americans of other ethnicities.

It may not seem that way to Alford, however, because the incarceration rates for black and white drug use are so disparate. African American communities are more frequently policed and prosecuted for drug offenses, an unfortunate scenario that not only ruins lives, but also pushes the narrative that blacks are hooked on drugs.

Unfortunately, the racism in Alford’s argument goes even deeper than that stereotype. By putting the drug problem largely on black people, he’s essentially scapegoating them as the reason why white people who enjoy a recreational toke can’t enjoy the drug responsibly. Black “genetics” are ruining it for everyone – or so Alford tries to contend.

Though this new excuse seems especially stupid, let’s not forget that the war on drugs has always been about targeting African Americans. A former Nixon advisor acknowledged that drug laws were mainly drummed up to criminalize communities of color.

Perhaps that’s the true motivation for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to try to renege on the country’s marijuana policy. His past is littered with racist statements, and he knows drug laws are an effective way to keep non-violent people of color incarcerated.

As for Alford, although he initially defended his comments as not racist, he soon acknowledged that his comments were both wrong and regrettable, warranting a “sincere” apology from him. He did, however, stand by his larger belief that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to widespread addiction.

Alford also insisted, “I’m about as far from being a racist as I can get.” He does realize his words were taped, right? If he really can’t get any further from racism than to spew ignorant nonsense like that, it’s probably time for his constituents to find a new representative that can.

Though the racism has understandably stolen the focus, Alford’s other main argument against marijuana may have been nearly as ridiculous. He said smoking infringed on other people’s rights to breathe clean air. That just doesn’t seem genuine coming from a man whose legislative votes are usually not in favor of the environment and clean air.

Take Action

Take a stand against racism. Urge the Kansas Republican party to call on Representative Alford to resign by signing this popular Care2 petition.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

77 comments

sharon b
sharon b9 days ago

Ignorance is not bliss.
And Maureen G, LOL

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Maureen G
Maureen G10 days ago

On a lighter side to this article. I live in Queensland and one morning when we were driving around our farm we saw a group of kangaroos lying on the ground. We drove down to see what was wrong...if anything...and found they had been eating wild marijuana. They were all gone the next day when we went to checked on them. If I had not have seen it myself I wouldn't have believed it.

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Leo C
Leo Custer10 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Winn A
Winn A10 days ago

:-(

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Winn A
Winn A10 days ago

OMG

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Ben O
Ben O10 days ago

WTF...???

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Laura R
Laura R10 days ago

Maybe white men are genetically greedy and hateful?

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Teresa A
Teresa A10 days ago

Loredana V: I make your words mine!

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Janis K
Janis K10 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O10 days ago

Bahau’llah has also taught that prejudices, whether religious, racial, patriotic or political are destructive to the foundations of human development. Prejudices of any kind are the destroyers of human happiness and welfare. Until they are dispelled the advancement of the world of humanity is not possible …. Baha'i Faith

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