The Latest: Kansas lawmaker apologizes for remarks on blacks

AP News
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Posted: Jan 08, 2018 5:46 PM
The Latest: Kansas lawmaker apologizes for remarks on blacks

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" (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

A white Kansas state lawmaker has apologized for suggesting that blacks have a genetic predisposition to abusing drugs.

Republican state Rep. Steve Alford, of the western Kansas town of Ulysses, said in a statement that he was wrong and regrets the remarks he made Saturday during public meeting at a hospital.

He said: "I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have hurt."

At the meeting, The 75-year-old Alford argued 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."

Alford said in his statement that he opposes legalizing any use of marijuana because doing so opens the door to harder drugs.

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4:10 p.m.

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."

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2:46 p.m.

A white 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 west 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.