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.
The Buckeye Institute says most of the proposals in Issue 1 are good ideas that Ohio should implement, just not in the state constitution, which is difficult to amend.
The group’s Daniel Dew warns that criminal sentencing reform is nearly impossible to get right the first time.
For example, Dew believes Issue 1 would lead to a large increase of drug trafficking charges for high-volume possession because other charges would be dropped, which could get expensive for the state.
“I think prosecutors may not be as willing to let people plead down if now they’re looking at a misdemeanor rather than a felony.”
Supporters of Issue 1 say lawmakers have had their chance to pass these types of reform but haven’t acted. They also point out that the Buckeye Institute recognizes the possibility of prosecutors to charge people with trafficking if they possess a large amount of drugs. Opponents of Issue 1 have argued that the measure would not allow these types of offenders to be arrested.