Resources for Issue 1: Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Amendment Initiative

Issue 1, also known under its original title The Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment, is an effort aimed at amending several aspects of Ohio’s criminal justice system. Given the complex nature of the proposed changes, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center has collected resources to provide relevant information to the public to assist them in their decision making. The resources include the original wording of the initiative, as well as selected media coverage, official position statements from stakeholder groups and relevant information about other states’ similar efforts. The center has also solicited expert commentaries from leading academics that can be found here.


Issue 1 - Wording and summary
Issue 1 - Official position statements
Issue 1 - Selected media coverage

The information presented below provides a selection of media coverage of Issue 1.

9-13-2018 - Both sides debate effects of drug sentencing plan

9-11-18 - Dave Yost opposes state Issue 1; Steve Dettelbach undecided

9-10-18 - Mike DeWine, Robert Sprague latest to oppose Issue 1 drug crime amendment

9-10-18 - DeWine says Issue 1 impact ‘devastating,’ Cordray calls it smart policy

9-8-2018 - State Issue 1 draws fire at GOP luncheon

9-7-2018 - County officials wary of passing Issue 1

9-6-2018 - State Issue One will lessen drug crime punishment, local judges react

9-6-2018 - Issue One approved for ballot

9-5-2018 - Issue 1 Supporter Contradicts Concerns From Ohio's Top Judge

9-3-2018 - Concerns rise for Issue One in Ohio that would pay for treatment instead of prison

9-2-2018 - County officials wary of passing Issue 1

8-31-18 - Ohio Issue 1: Why is Facebook's Zuckerberg backing an Ohio ballot initiative to reduce drug penalties?

8-29-18 - Chief Justice O’Connor: Passage of Issue 1 would be ‘catastrophic’

8-28-18 - Departing prisons director: Ohio has too many behind bar

8-22-2018 - Facebook founders among backers of Ohio criminal justice reform amendment

8-17-2018 - Prisons chief says Ohio must accelerate sentencing reform, prison alternatives

8-14-2018 - Judges oppose drug sentencing ballot issue

8-4-2018 - Drug sentencing up for vote

8-3-2018 - Former Supreme Court Justice Tags Issue 1 As "Horrible Idea"

8-2-2018 - Issue 1 Supporters Call For Treatment Over Prison Time

7-30-2018 - Supporters, Skeptics Emerge for Amendment Reducing Sentencing for Drug Offenses

7-23-2018 - Voters will decide drug treatment, rehab ballot measure

7-23-2018 - Ohioans will vote on drug treatment and rehab issue in November

7-5-2018 - Ohio drug treatment and rehabilitation amendment could be on November ballot

12-13-2017 - Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Ballot Issue Can Now Collect Signatures


Other states' experience - CA and OK

Ohio's Issue 1 is not the first time that direct democracy has been used to ask voters to weigh in directly on the question of how should crimes involving small amounts of illegal drugs be classified. Below you will find resources from two states, California and Oklahoma, whose voters have approved ballot measures that reclassified certain offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. While the details of each measure are distinct, they can provide useful background for voters faced with Issue 1.


In 2014, voters in California approved Proposition 47, which "reduces penalties for certain offenders convicted of nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes. The measure also allows certain offenders who have been previously convicted of such crimes to apply for reduced sentences. In addition, the measure requires any state savings that result from the measure be spent to support truancy (unexcused absences) prevention, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and victim services.” (Summary from California SOS Official Voter Information Guide)

Proposition 47 - text of ballot measure (starts on pg. 70)

Analysis of Proposition 47 by the Legislative Analyst

Board Awards $103m in Prop 47 Funds to Innovative Rehabilitative Programs

Proposition 47 Grant Summaries: June 2017 through August 2020

Can We Downsize Our Prisons and Jails Without Compromising Public Safety?

The Myth That Crime Rises as Prisons Shrink

Efforts to amend Proposition 47:

In the 2015 legislative session, a number of changes to Proposition 47 were proposed, but the bills either died in committee, were vetoed by the governor, or did not amend the specific provisions added by Proposition  47 and therefore did not have to go before the voters. In November 2017 an initiative entitled the “Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018” was filed with the Attorney General.  This initiative would change provisions of Proposition 47 and would go on the November 2020 ballot.  The measure would, among other things, “A. [r]eform the parole system so violent felons are not released early from prison, strengthen oversight of post-release community supervision and tighten penalties for violations of terms of post-release community supervision; B. Reform theft laws to restore accountability for serial thieves and organized theft rings; and C. Expand DNA collection from persons convicted of drug, theft and domestic violence related crimes to help solve violent crimes and exonerate the innocent.”  Initiative No. 17-0044, Amendment No. 1, Sec. 2


In November 2016, voters in the state of Oklahoma approved State Question 780 and State Question 781. State Question 780 changed some non-violent drug- and theft-related crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, thus reducing the number and duration of state prison sentences for those crimes. State Question 781 was designed to redistribute the money saved by the reduced prison costs to counties to fund rehabilitation of criminals. State Questions 780 and 781 were connected, with State Question 781 being dependent on the passage of State Question 780.

Oklahoma State Question 780 - text of the proposed initiative

Oklahoma State Question 780 - summary from Ballotpedia

Oklahoma State Question 781 - text of the proposed initiative

Oklahoma State Question 781 - summary from Ballotpedia

Oklahoma Smart Justice Reform Act (SQ 781) FY 2018 Calculations - report by OK Office of Management and Enterprise Services

Efforts to amend State Questions 780 and 781:

In March 2017, the Oklahoma House of Representatives approved a bill that would roll back some of the amendments by once again making it a felony to possess any amount of drugs within 1,000 feet of school property.  The Senate version was pulled from committee consideration in April 2017.