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

Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Proposed by Initiative Petition

To add a new Section 12 to Article XV of the Constitution of the State of Ohio

A majority yes vote is necessary for the amendment to pass.

League explanation of Issue 1

Issue 1, also known as The Amendment to Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing, and Using Illegal Drugs, would add a new section 12 to Article XV of the Ohio Constitution. The amendment is designed to reduce the number of people in state prisons for low-level, nonviolent drug possession; drug use offenses; or for non-criminal probation violations. In addition, it would provide sentence credits for participation in rehabilitative programs; and is intended to direct the savings achieved by such reductions in incarceration to substance abuse treatment programs, crime victim programs, probation programs, graduated responses programs, and rehabilitation programs.

The amendment would:

  • Reclassify drug offenses from felony to misdemeanor for both accused and convicted drug users.  
  • Require the state to spend savings due to a reduction of the number of prison inmates on drug treatment and rehabilitation programs. 

PROS ACCORDING TO PROPONENTS: 

  1. It would make the possession, obtainment and use of drugs no more than a misdemeanor.   
  1. It would create a sentence reduction credits program for inmates' participation in rehabilitative, work, or educational programs  
  1. It  would reduce the number of people in state prisons for low-level crimes  
  1. It would save tens of millions of dollars annually in prison spending and direct the savings to addiction treatment and victims of crime.  

CONS ACCORDING TO OPPONENTS:  

  1. The amendment would make it more difficult to prosecute drug traffickers.  
  1. This belongs in the Ohio Revised code. The constitution should contain fundamental principles and organization of government. Appropriation directives should not be added to the constitution.  
  1. This takes away available resources from the court for rehabilitating people and doesn't give judges the ability to use incarceration when it's necessary.  
  1. This proposed constitutional amendment does not provide adequate funding for treatment infrastructure nor treatment itself.   

Here is the language that will appear on the ballot

Here is the consitutional amendment language