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Ohio Voters Reject Issue 1's Proposed Changes To Some Low-level Drug Crimes

close up of bars in a jail cell
Michael Coghlan
Flickr Creative Commons

Voters have rejected Ohio Ballot Issue One.

The state constitutional amendment would have changed the way some low-level drug-related crimes are handled, changing drug-possession felonies to misdemeanors.

Supporters say it would have also reduced prison overcrowding for certain low-level drug offenders and help reduce prison spending.

Opponents argued Issue 1 would create a burden on the court system and make it more difficult to prosecute some drug cases. 

Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler says that in an expensive election year, "The votes yes [for Issue 1] spent a lot more money, more than $7 million. When all is said and done, it's probably going to be a lot more than that by the time you add in all the digital ads they bought as well as all the television ads."

Kasler says that despite their defeat, Issue 1 supporters do feel that their message reached Ohians, "They feel like people are understanding their point, which is that the system is broken and the people who are locked up for drug offenses need more than what the system is offering."

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.