A Kansas state Republican lawmaker resurrected a Jim Crow myth that African Americans are genetically predisposed to handle marijuana more poorly than other races during a speech over the weekend.
As the Garden City Telegram reported, State Rep. Steve Alford (R) told an all-white crowd that marijuana was criminalized during the prohibition era in the 1930’s primarily because of black marijuana use when asked a question by a member of the local Democratic party about potential economic boons from cannabis legalization.
“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 off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that.”
As the Telegram noted in their report, Alford’s comments referenced a belief promoted by marijuana prohibitionist Harry Anslinger, the founding commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
“Under Anslinger’s leadership, the FBN came to be considered responsible for the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937,” the report noted, “regulating cannabis and further taxing it to the ultimate detriment of the hemp industry that was booming at the time.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” Anslinger said once when explaining why marijuana supposedly caused crime and violence. The commissioner also fought for the prohibition of cannabis due to “its effect on the degenerate races,” the Telegram noted.
Watch Rep. Alford’s comments below, via the Garden City Telegram.
Top South Dakota Republicans face investigation for appearing to be drunk during crucial coronavirus session
Lawmakers in South Dakota are investigating whether or not Senate Majority Leader Kris Langer (R) was drunk during a meeting earlier this week -- a meeting that dealt with new legislation regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the Rapid City Journal reports.
Another South Dakota Republican, Brock Greenfield, is also under investigation for his conduct during the meeting.
"Langer and Greenfield oversaw the Senate proceedings from a conference room in the Capitol as lawmakers convened through teleconference to decide on a series of emergency bills for the coronavirus outbreak," the Journal reports. "As the Senate prepared to adjourn Tuesday morning, Sen. Phil Jensen, a Rapid City Republican, said he had heard Langer was intoxicated and had interrupted meetings in the House and Senate. He then attempted to move to create a disciplinary committee."
‘Modern piracy’: Germany accuses Trump of stealing N95 masks it ordered from factory in China
The German government is accusing the U.S. government of stealing N95 masks that it had ordered from a factory based in China that's run by American company 3M.
The Guardian reports that the German government claims that "200,000 N95 masks made by the manufacturer 3M were diverted to the U.S. as they were being transferred between planes in Thailand."
Andreas Geisel, the interior minister for Berlin state, said that the American seizure of masks that were set to go to Germany was "an act of modern piracy" and warned that continuing to take such actions could create chaos across the globe.
New Mavis Staples song to help Chicago seniors hit by virus
Soul legend Mavis Staples on Friday released a new charity song, "All In It Together", to raise funds to help elderly people in Chicago through the coronavirus.
Produced by Jeff Tweedy, of Wilco fame, 80-year-old Staples said the song "speaks to what we're going through now".
"Everyone is in this together, whether you like it or not," said the veteran civil rights campaigner, who first shot to fame with The Staples Singers.
"It doesn't matter how much money you have, what race or sex you are... it can still touch you. It's hit so many people in our country and around the world in such a horrible way and I just hope this song can bring a little light to the darkness."