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Politics & Public Policy

Ohio Ballot Beat

Issue 1: To Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing, and Using Illegal Drugs

Monday, October 8, 2018
12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

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"This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. This is be a public safety issue." – The Honorable David T. Matia

In the 2018 general election, there is only one statewide measure on the ballot: Issue 1, To Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing, and Using Illegal Drugs.

Issue 1 is a constitutional amendment that if adopted, would:

  • Require sentence reductions of incarcerated individuals, except individuals incarcerated for murder, rape, or child molestation, by up to 25 percent if the individual participates in rehabilitative, work, or educational programming.
  • Mandate that criminal offenses of obtaining, possessing, or using any drug such as fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, and other controlled substances cannot be classified as a felony, but only a misdemeanor.
  • Prohibit jail time as a sentence for obtaining, possessing, or using such drugs until an individual's third offense within 24 months.
  • Allow an individual convicted of obtaining, possessing, or using any such drug prior to the effective date of the amendment to ask a court to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor, regardless of whether the individual has completed the sentence.
  • Require any available funding, based on projected savings, to be applied to state administered rehabilitation programs and crime victim funds.
  • Require a graduated series of responses, such as community service, drug treatment, or jail time, for minor, non-criminal probation violations.

Proponents argue that the measure would direct non-violent drug offenders to treatment rather than to prison and reduce the number of those incarcerated, reducing prison operating costs. Opponents believe the measure would make Ohio one of the most lenient drug crime laws in the nation.

Join us for a conversation with representatives from both sides of Issue 1 as they discuss the bill and its implications for Ohio voters.

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