Bill would reduce penalty for minor drug possession

Posted at 5:16 AM, Mar 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 05:16:25-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Proposed Ohio legislation would reduce the penalties for minor drug possession and toughen penalties for drug traffickers.

The bipartisan Senate bill introduced this week also would allow people convicted of low-level drug possession charges to have their records sealed on completion of drug court requirements.

State Sen. John Eklund is the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He says the proposal is meant to provide help to Ohioans struggling with addiction before they go to jail.

Eklund says the bill also ensures traffickers are arrested and sent to prison.

The legislation creates harsher penalties for trafficking, deeming it aggravated trafficking, major trafficking or trafficking, depending on the amount of drugs involved.

The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Sean O'Brien, a Democrat from Trumbull County in northeastern Ohio.