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Buckeye Institute Voices Issue 1 Concerns

A photo of hands on jail bars.
The group believes Issue 1 may lead to an increase in drug charges.

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," Dew said.

Supporters of Issue 1 say lawmakers have had their chance to pass these types of reform but haven’t acted.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.