A Marijuana possession felony may not only risk serving time behind bars but also the right to vote. This stripping of an important civil duty is what we call: Voter Suppression.
Voter suppression is a systematic strategy that is done to target a certain group of people in order to prevent them from exercising their most fundamental right, voting. The criticism is that there seems to be no correlation between the two, there should be no reason that the possession of, say, marijuana should forever take away one’s voting rights.
The group of people under this suppression is predominantly the black population. It is statistically proven that arrests for possession of marijuana are targeted mainly at black people, making this a racial injustice issue. “Every 0.01 hours someone in the United States is arrested for having marijuana; a Black person is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested than a white person.” – American Civil Liberties Union.
Mass incarceration of African-Americans is not only wrongfully criminalizing the group, but the process is also an agenda to expel them from proclaiming their right to citizenship due to charges like that of marijuana possession.
This skyrocketing amount of incarceration due to possession of marijuana only adds to the U.S.’ alarming “mass incarceration issue”. A major factor to this problem is our idea of the “War on Drugs”. Without reforming charges on marijuana possession, this country may never fix their exceedingly disturbing “mass incarceration” issue.
Activist, Van Jones, even went as far as to say that mass incarceration of blacks paved the way to Donald Trump’s presidential election. “Voter suppression is: you’re 19 years old and you get caught with marijuana, and you’re forced to plead to a felony… then you can never vote again… If people had stood up against mass incarceration and stood up for people having the right to vote when they get out of prison, you’d never have a Donald Trump.” – Van Jones
Getting minorities to go out and vote is already hard enough as it is, we cannot afford any more obstacles. To help prevent further incarceration of targeted black citizens, email your local official and take action now! You can find out your state’s statistics here.
“We have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around… “ – Barack Obama, State of the Union Speech 13 Jan. 2016