Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment that would release low-level drug offenders from jail and direct money to treatment instead have cleared one hurdle.
It’s being called the Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation amendment. It is meant to reduce the number of people locked up in state prisons for low-level drug crimes and get them credit for time served in treatment instead. The amendment would reduce nonviolent drug crimes to misdemeanors, and would also direct state money saved from a smaller prison population into drug treatment programs. The Ohio Ballot Board panel now says supporters can now circulate petitions to put it on the ballot. Those Ohio-based community activists will need to collect more than 300,000 valid petition signatures by July to put the issue on the 2018 statewide fall ballot. That’s equal to 10 percent of the total vote cast for governor in 2014.