Drug Sentencing

Marijuana plants
Jim Mone / AP

The Ohio Senate has passed what supporters call a critical bill to address criminal justice reform and overcrowded prisons. The legislation lowers the penalty for many drug possession charges from felonies to misdemeanors.

This Jan. 8, 2001. file photo shows the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) in Youngstown, Ohio, the state's highest security prison.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

Two bills under consideration in the Ohio legislature would change sentencing for low-level drug crimes to intervention rather than incarceration.

Ohio lawmakers are taking the rest of the year off before coming back to the Statehouse in 2020. Some of the top leaders in the House and Senate say they have some New Year's resolutions when they return.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, left, shakes hands with Ohio House speaker Larry Householder after delivering the Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

This year, Ohio lawmakers managed to send 21 bills to the governor's desk for his signature. However, there are many other proposals that received a lot of attention but are still waiting in the wings for 2020.

Marijuana plants
Jim Mone / AP

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) says the plan to change drug sentencing laws is one of the most important pieces of legislation they'll have during this two-year session.

Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof
Ohio Senate

The leader of the Ohio Senate is pledging to take action by year's end on a bill designed to reduce low-level drug possessions to misdemeanors and increase penalties for drug dealers.

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor delivered her State of the Judiciary at the Hilton at Easton on September 12, 2019.
LIESL BONNEAU

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor talked about maintaining public trust in the judiciary, supporting sentencing reform and keeping dockets moving with apps, texting and technology during her State of the Judiciary speech.

On Friday, March 22, 2019, a participant smokes a marijuana cigarette during at meet and greet at "Tommy Chong's Live, Love, and Smoke Tour" in Los Angeles.
Richard Vogel / Associated Press

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss efforts to reform drug laws so users would avoid jail time and the stigma of a felony conviction. Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the ACLU of Ohio, joins the show.

On Friday, March 22, 2019, a participant smokes a marijuana cigarette during at meet and greet at "Tommy Chong's Live, Love, and Smoke Tour" in Los Angeles.
Richard Vogel / Associated Press

Medical marijuana is still a new sight around Ohio, but the conversation is already shifting. Columbus City Council president Shannon Hardin wants to reduce penalties for marijuana possession, and he's taking the first step Thursday night at a public hearing in Council chambers.

Scales of justice
William Cho / Pixabay

Hundreds of crime survivors came to the Statehouse on Wednesday to tell their stories to lawmakers, who are considering changes to bail, sentencing laws and other elements of the criminal justice system.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine speaks during a public inauguration ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Columbus.
Ty Greenlees / AP/Dayton Daily News, Pool

Gov. Mike DeWine will propose the creation of 30 new specialty dockets, known as drug courts, as part of his budget expected to be officially released Friday. The move is one of DeWine's first major announcements when it comes to fighting the opioid crisis.

Marijuana
Flickr / Creative Commons

As Ohio’s medical marijuana program comes closer to bearing fruit, Columbus leaders hope to join the growing number of U.S. cities decriminalizing recreational marijuana.

President Trump is throwing his support behind legislation that could shorten sentences for some drug offenders and help prisoners adjust to life after incarceration.

Details of the measure have not been officially released, but Trump said Wednesday the bill will provide incentives for prisoners to participate in training or rehabilitation programs with a goal of reducing recidivism.

It will also include measures to address sentencing disparities and inequities.

New Hampshire State Forensic Lab

For the third time in four years, Ohio voters soundly rejected a constitutional amendment that cost supporters millions to put on the ballot. Issue 1, the drug sentencing ballot proposal, was defeated by a 2-to-1 ratio.

WOSU

State Issue 1, Ohio's drug sentencing ballot amendment, has failed at the polls.

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