City Club Youth Forum After Issue 1: What's the Future of Ohio's Drug Policy?

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In the 2018 general election, there was only one statewide measure on the ballot: Issue 1, To Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing, and Using Illegal Drugs.

Issue 1 was a constitutional amendment that if adopted, would reduce the number of people in state prison for low-level, nonviolent drug possession or drug use offenses or for non-criminal probation violations and by providing sentence credits for participation in rehabilitative programs and to direct the savings achieved by such reductions in incarceration to drug treatment programs and other purposes. The full proposal is here.

Proponents argued that the measure would direct non-violent drug offenders to treatment rather than to prison and reduce the number of those incarcerated, reducing prison operating costs. Opponents believe the measure would make Ohio one of the most lenient drug crime laws in the nation.

The impacts Issue 1 would have on the opioid epidemic are mixed. However, as the opioid epidemic remains a key issue in Ohio and around the country, communities are searching for solutions. Drug policies vary greatly around the world and even from state to state. What works? Since Issue 1 failed to pass, what should Ohio do next in regards to drug policy?


Bishara Addison

Senior Manager, Policy and Strategic Initiatives, Towards Employment

Briana Russ 

Behavioral Health Liaison, Signature Health

David Streem, M.D.

Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Cleveland Clinic

Natalie Sipula

Member, Youth Forum Council

Orimilo Oresanya

Member, Youth Forum Council

Andrew Caplan

Member, Youth Forum Council

Sam Lehman

Member, Youth Forum Council


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