Drug Sentencing | WOSU Radio

Drug Sentencing

Vivitrol, a relapse prevention drug.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

The Ohio House has overwhelmingly passed a bill giving courts options to divert those charged with drug crimes away from prison and into treatment programs. It now goes on to the Senate, which also has a drug crimes sentencing reform measure of its own.

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.

Statehouse News Bureau

Republican Dave Yost and Democrat Steve Dettelbach are both attorneys, and they both have a way with words, peppering their comments with colorful phrases like “that’s just horsefeathers” and “malarkey.” 

New Hampshire State Forensic Lab

Voters in Ohio will see one statewide issue on the ballot. Supporters have said this constitutional amendment will steer non-violent drug offenders away from prison and into treatment. But opponents claim it will dismantle the work Ohio has already done to curb the opioid epidemic. 

Pastor Greg Delaney, who previously supported Issue 1, works to help drug addicts.
Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

A Southwest Ohio pastor who was speaking out in support of Issue 1, the state ballot issue that would provide drug users and possessors with treatment instead of jail time, is changing his mind.

The leader of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus joined with some Cleveland City Council members and other local officials to support Issue 1 at a news conference Thursday morning.

The proposed constitutional amendment would reduce penalties for drug possession, reclassifying lower-level felonies as misdemeanors. It would also allow incarcerated people, with some exceptions, to shorten their prison sentences by taking part in job and education programs.  

Democratic Representative Stephanie Howse.
Ohio House

As groupsassociations, and individual polticians around Ohio line up against a statewide ballot issue to cut jail time for some drug offenders, one group remains steadfast in their support.

A conservative think tank is sending out a warning that Issue 1 could bring expensive, unintended consequences. But the group adds it’s unfortunate because the measure to steer drug users away from prison and towards treatment has merit. 

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