Amid growing criticism, a Kansas lawmaker has apologized after making racist comments about African Americans and their alleged link to marijuana. At a legislative coffee event recently, responding to a query about pot legalization, state Republican Representative Steve Alford of Ulysses had said that black people were more inclined to abuse drugs due to “their character makeup” and “their genetics.”
“I was wrong, I regret my comments and I sincerely apologize to anyone whom I have hurt,” Alford said in a statement. Alford said that his remark that one of the driving factors behind the criminalization of marijuana during the 1930s was because of the negative effect it had on society and, to be more specific, the damaging consequences on the African-American community. Substance abuse is a blight on society and the legalization of marijuana would only open the door for harder drugs to pour in, he said, adding that he remained committed to fighting the spread of addiction in his state.
Alford’s comment was called “bizarre” by Representative Valdenia Winn, an African American democrat from Kansas. Winn said that he should apologize to people of color in his district. Alford had said that one of the reasons why cannabis had been outlawed during the 1930s was because of the African-Americans, who were basically users and responded the worst off to those drugs.
Alford is not in favor of weed legalization. During an interview, he said that he felt marijuana was a gateway drug which led to the use of other drugs, which further led to an increased need for mental health and other services. The Republican legislator said that safety was his prime concern.
Marijuana use is widespread
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States and its use is widespread among adolescents and young adults. Studies show that it is almost impossible in the U.S. not to be exposed to weed. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 22 million Americans aged 12 or older were using marijuana in 2015.
With marijuana gaining more and more votes for its legalization, experts fear that damaging and addictive nature of the drug cannabis will get sidelined. As the medicinal value of marijuana remains a controversial issue, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues to keep its Schedule I classification tag along with drugs like heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), ecstasy and methaqualone.
Researchers at the Harvard University have discovered that marijuana use alters brain structure by visibly modifying brain volume. Studies suggest that regular weed smoking can induce changes in density and volume of the amygdala and nucleus accumbens. Also, the psychoactive properties of its main component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), reduces the volume of gray matter that controls emotions and reward.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 4 million people met the diagnostic criteria for a marijuana use disorder in 2015, while 138,000 voluntarily sought treatment for its use. If you or your loved one is among those who are trying to overcome an addiction to marijuana, it is best to immediately seek medical assistance at a reputed rehab center. Sovereign Health, one of the leading marijuana addiction treatment centers in the U.S., offers evidence-based treatment to people addicted to the drug. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-683-9756 or chat online with one of our mental health experts for more information on our marijuana addiction treatment programs and our marijuana rehab centers in the country.