PRESS ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
From the desk of Ohio Green Party co-chairs Nathaniel David Lane and Anita Rios
The so-called “war on drugs” has proven to be an abject failure. Opiate addiction rates have skyrocketed in recent years. Zero tolerance policies and mandatory minimum sentences have needlessly filled our prisons with nonviolent drug offenders over the past several decades. Medical professionals widely agree that drug and alcohol addiction is a medical condition. Prohibition does not work for a medical condition.
In addition groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have pointed out the disparity in the sentencing for drug offenses which results in African American defendants receiving harsher sentences than white Americans. The Ohio State legislature has failed to address this disparity. An amendment to Ohio’s constitution allows the voters to push aside the do nothing politicians and solve these problems themselves.
With these facts understood, The Ohio Green Party along with The Hamilton, Franklin, Licking, Lucas and Summit County Ohio Green Party chapters, officially announce their endorsement and support of Ohio Ballot Issue 1, which will make offenses related to drug possession and use no more than misdemeanors. Issue 1 also prohibit courts from ordering persons on probation for felonies be sent to prison for non-criminal probation violations, create a sentence credits program for inmates and require the state to spend savings from a reduction of inmates due to the enactment of Issue 1 on drug treatment, crime victim and rehabilitation programs.
Ohio Green Party Lt. Governor candidate Brett Joseph endorses Issue 1 and says “In Ohio, mandatory sentencing and the for-profit prison lobby, have combined to produce a true crisis of mass incarceration and criminalization of a public health problem. Judicial discretion has not averted this crisis, nor will it in the absence of a Constitutional amendment as provided by Issue 1. This is the appropriate remedy when the system itself is broken.
Ohio Green Party Gubernatorial candidate Constance Gadell-Newton likewise endorses Issue 1 and says “I support Issue 1 because it will help countless Ohioans seek treatment and move forward with their lives. We need to start treating drug addiction as a health care issue, not a criminal issue. We cannot incarcerate our way out of the opioid crisis. We need to find innovative solutions informed by evidence-based practices and move forward with a universal healthcare system in Ohio. Issue one is a step in the right direction for Ohio to put the opioid crisis in our past.”
The Ohio Green Party and all county chapters across the state also called for the enactment of universal single-payer health care coverage throughout the State of Ohio and the nation in order to properly provide the resources to individuals dealing with drug or alcohol addiction. The time has come for common-sense, and compassionate drug law reform in our state and our nation, and proper health care funding to properly address this healthcare need in our communities.