COLUMBUS — Voters have rejected an Ohio constitutional amendment to make possession of all types of drugs misdemeanors in an effort to reduce the state prison population and divert savings to drug treatment. The unofficial vote total for the issue was 1,568,347 for the issue and 2,716,958 against the issue.
In Shelby County, voters defeated the issue by a 14,800 to 3,413 vote. In Auglaize County, the vote was 3,146 for the issue and 15,722 against the issue. In DArke County, the issua failed 15,629 to 3,368 votes. The issue didn’t pass in any of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Most judicial and law enforcement groups opposed the measure known as Issue 1. And it became a point of debate in the Ohio governor’s race, with Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine opposed and Democratic candidate Richard Cordray supporting it.
Supporters argued Issue 1 would have saved tens of millions of dollars in prison costs, money that would be dedicated not only to drug treatment but to crime victim programs, as well.
Opponents balked at the prospect of basically decriminalizing possession of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid blamed for thousands of overdose deaths in Ohio.