Ballot Board Sets Language For Drug Sentencing Issue | WOSU Radio

Ballot Board Sets Language For Drug Sentencing Issue

Aug 23, 2018

The panel that decides the wording of statewide ballot issues has agreed on the language for the only one voters will see this fall, an amendment to reduce penalties for non-violent drug crimes while allowing many current inmates to seek shorter sentences.

It’s a resolution to a dispute over Issue 1, the "Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment," which supporters say will prioritize treatment over prison for drug offenders but opponents say will make communities more dangerous.  

Both sides came in with serious concerns about small but important words such as “all” and “of," but also over lines about criminal convictions that would be affected and the amount of drugs involved. The ballot board listened and recommended some changes.

In what is likely the last time before the election that this will happen, there was agreement between Issue 1 supporter Jeff Jacobson and Paul Pfeifer an opponent of the issue.,

“I can’t object to any of the changes, even the ones that are not favorable to us," Jacobson.

Pfeifer called the agreement an excellent compromise.

The amendment would allow for reduced sentences for inmates who participate in certain programs and were not convicted of murder, rape or child molestation. It would mandate that buying, possessing or using fentanyl, heroin and other drugs be misdemeanors and not felonies.