John Kasich on Drugs

Republican Governor; previously Representative (OH-12); 2000 candidate for President


Longer prison sentences for fentanyl-related offenses

Gov. John Kasich signed into law a bill imposing longer prison sentences for "merchants of death" dealing fentanyl. Kasich's signing of Senate Bill 1 increases prison sentences for drug offenses involving fentanyl-related compounds, with those convicted potentially facing more felony time for trafficking, possession and funding of trafficking involving the deadly synthetic opioid that has fueled a spiral of fatal overdoses.

The bill lowers the amounts required to trigger escalating levels of felony penalties, keeping offenders in prison longer. "We're sending a message ... they're going to go to prison for a very long time," Kasich said.

Drug dealers convicted as major drug offenders in fentanyl-compound cases face additional mandatory prison terms of three to eight years. In some cases, the penalty for permitting drug abuse involving fentanyl will increase from a first-degree misdemeanor (a maximum of six months in jail) to a fifth-degree felony (up to a year in prison).

Source: Columbus Dispatch on Ohio legislative records: Senate Bill 1 , Aug 1, 2018

Make low-level drug use a misdemeanor; treatment not prison

Gov. John Kasich said he is leaning toward supporting a ballot issue to prevent many low-level drug use and possession offenders from being sent to state prisons. Kasich signaled his potential support for Issue 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot, a constitutional amendment that would convert low-level drug use and possession felonies to first-degree misdemeanors that would divert offenders out of prison to addiction treatment. It also could lead to the release of those now imprisoned in state facilities for minor drug offenses.

"It's important for low-level offenders to not be in the prison system," the second-term Republican governor said, adding he wants to study the issue further. "We won the battle, but not the war. It's not going to be won for a long time," Kasich said, referring to a 30-percent drop in prescribed doses of opioid painkillers--a "gateway" to heroin and fentanyl--and a six-year low in the number of deaths from prescribed drugs.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Aug 1, 2018

Shut down the pill mills; put crooked doctors in jail

On drug addiction. Seven years ago, I went down to southern Ohio. And I met these ladies, and they walked in with these pictures. Well, who's on the picture? Beautiful young people--sons, daughters, football captain, cheerleader, whatever. I said, "what's up, moms?" They're all dead. We've got pill mills down here and they're passing these pills out. They're passing out pills down here like they're going through the McDonald's for french fries. I said "we will shut this down." How it operated all these years, I don't really understand. We shut the pill mills down. We put the crooked doctors in jail whenever we could.

We moved the Highway Patrol into more aggressive interdiction to remove illegal drugs. Here's the understanding about Ohio. Why is Ohio at the epicenter of all this? It's location. 600 miles within 60 percent of the country. It's only a day from Mexico and the drug cartels. Believe me. Talk to the patrol. It's only a few hours from Chicago.

Source: 2017 Ohio State of the State address , Apr 5, 2017

StartTalking! Talk to kids to say no to opiates

On prescription opiate abuse: We were one of the first states to create prescribing guidelines for doctors. Seven days of opiates for adults and no more than five days for children. Don't be giving all this stuff. We linked our medical providers into our pharmacy system to slow doctor shopping. For those that are chronically ill, we're not out to take your medication away. But you're more closely watched by your physician.

We created StartTalking! Talk to your kids. Talk to somebody who's not your kid. Just talk about it. 50% less likelihood if somebody would do drugs, opiates, that's how they start. These young kids, they go to a party and somebody says, "hey, they've got a bowl of pills." That's the moment of truth. The answer is "no, I don't want to be cool by taking drugs." That's what we're trying to do with StartTalking!

We spent nearly $1 billion on this issue of drugs. Our work is paying off. A 20 percent reduction in opiate prescriptions. Doctor shopping has fallen by 80%.

Source: 2017 Ohio State of the State address , Apr 5, 2017

No mixed message: don't do opioids & don't do marijuana

Gov. John Kasich said he doesn't think Ohio's new medical marijuana program will help mitigate the state's opioid crisis, though recent studies indicate otherwise.

Kasich was asked at a news conference announcing new opioid prescription limits what role medical marijuana might play in addressing the growing number of opiate overdose deaths in Ohio. Kasich said telling kids not to do drugs but that marijuana is OK sends a mixed message. "I know it's not recreational marijuana, not recreational use, but I don't see a role for it in this at all," Kasich said.

Studies have shown opioid overdoses and deaths have decreased in states that allow medical marijuana, which is far less addictive and lethal. Republicans and Democrats cited the opioid crisis as a reason to pass Ohio's medical marijuana law last year.

"I don't like the whole thing -- medical marijuana," Kasich said. "It got passed because somebody was going to have a broader law."

Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer on 2018 Ohio gubernatorial race , Mar 30, 2017

2016: Legalized medical marijuana, with tight regulations

Twenty-eight states and Washington D.C. have legalized medical marijuana use. Ohio's medical marijuana law, signed by Kasich last June, allows patients with one of 21 medical conditions to buy and use marijuana if recommended to them by a physician. Smoking marijuana and growing it at home are not allowed.

Three state agencies are in the process of establishing a tightly regulated program to grow and sell medical marijuana in limited amounts.

Studies have shown marijuana can alleviate pain. The most recent study found hospitalization rates for painkiller addiction and abuse dropped 23% on average in states after they allowed medical marijuana use. Hospitalization rates for overdoses dropped 13%, according to the report published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

"I don't like the whole thing -- medical marijuana," Kasich said. "It got passed because somebody was going to have a broader law."

Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer on 2018 Ohio gubernatorial race , Mar 30, 2017

Don't send mixed signals to kids by legalizing

Sending mixed signals to kids about drugs is a disaster. Drugs is one of the greatest scourge in this country, and I spent five years of my administration working with my team to do a whole sort of things to try to reign in the problem of overdoses, and it goes on and on. We could do a whole show on that.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

The tsunami of drugs threatens families

To treat the mentally ill, 10,000 of them sit in our prisons. It costs $22,500 a year to keep them in prison. I'd rather get them their medication so they could lead a decent life.

We are rehabbing the drug-addicted. 80% of the people in our prisons have addictions or problems. We now treat them in the prisons, release them in the community and the recidivism rate is 10% and the tsunami of drugs is threatening their very families. So we're treating them and getting them on their feet.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

50% lower chance of drug use if kids hear "don't do drugs"

"Start Talking": Do you know about this? We've got a lot of new members here. If a young person hears "do not do drugs," there is a 50 percent less chance they will ever do it. A 50 percent less chance. Now, in your districts, you can spread it. We've spoken now, I think--well, I know the last time I checked--to over 26,000 kids. We've gotten teachers involved. And, ladies and gentlemen that are here in Wilmington, I don't care where you are. You're in a restaurant? You walk over there and you see those kids. You tell them to stay off the drugs. [Look at] the tsunami of trouble we have in this community because of addiction. We need to be in our schools. We need to be in our communities. We need to be in our synagogues. We need to be in our churches. We need to be everywhere. Don't leave it to somebody else.
Source: State of the State address to 2015 Ohio Legislature , Feb 24, 2015

Refuse to celebrate the drug-filled lifestyle

Source: Stand For Something, by John Kasich, p.229-230 , May 10, 2006

Educate students that marijuana is a gateway drug

I first heard Jessica Hulsey speak at the President's Summit for America's Future in April 1997, and her account of her childhood on the streets of Long Beach, California, with addicts for parents.

Jessica hates the drugs but not the abusers. Although she opposes any legalization of drugs, she thinks treatment, not jail, is the answer for most drug abusers. If people must be jailed, she thinks, they must receive treatment there.

She thinks more anti-drug education, starting at earlier ages, is needed in the schools. She warns students that marijuana is both addictive and a "gateway" to other drugs. She would like to see tougher laws against drunk driving. Based on her own life experience, she wants to see drug abuse treated more as a public health problem.

I have no doubt we will hear more of Jessica and her war on drugs.

Source: Courage is Contagious, by John Kasich, p. 69&79-80 , Oct 19, 1999

Place babies of addicted mothers into foster homes

[In 1980s NYC], because of the crack epidemic, thousands of children, tested soon after birth, were being found to have crack cocaine in their systems. They and other at-risk children were kept in hospitals until foster homes could be found for them.

The problem was that the system was overwhelmed and children were staying weeks, months, even years in hospitals before homes were found. "Boarder babies," they were called. Keeping them in hospitals like that was called "warehousing."

The city was using the most expensive means possible to care for the children: a foster home would cost a fraction of what hospital care cost. The pressure of lawsuits resulted in out-of-court settlements in which city and state officials agreed to accelerate the placement of children in foster homes. Soon, the city had made dramatic progress in reducing the time taken to place children--down to an average of three days, even for "at-risk" babies.

Source: Courage is Contagious, by John Kasich, p.190-191 , Oct 19, 1999

Voted YES on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC.

Vote to pass a bill that provides $429.1 million in funds for the District of Columbia and approves the District's $6.8 billion budget. Among other provisions, the bill prohibits the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs, prohibits implementing an approved ballot initiative to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 3064 ; vote number 1999-504 on Oct 14, 1999

Rated B- by NORML, indicating a pro-drug-reform stance.

Kasich scores B- by the NORML on drug reform

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2016 NORML scores as follows:

About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.

NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.

NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession & responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."

NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."

NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.

NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.

Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.

Source: NORML website 16_NORML on Nov 8, 2016

Other governors on Drugs: John Kasich on other issues:
OH Gubernatorial:
Betty Sutton
Connie Pillich
Dennis Kucinich
Jim Renacci
Joe Schiavoni
Jon Husted
Mary Taylor
Mike DeWine
Nan Whaley
Richard Cordray
OH Senatorial:
Jim Renacci
Mike Gibbons
P.G. Sittenfeld
Rob Portman
Sherrod Brown
Ted Strickland

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CT: Malloy(D) vs.Lamont(D) vs.Stefanowski(R) vs.Srinivasan(R) vs.David Walker (R) vs.Lumaj(R) vs.Visconti(R) vs.Lauretti(R) vs.Drew(D)
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Gubernatorial Possibilities 2019:
KY: vs.Grimes(D) vs.Chandler(D) vs.Gray(D)
LA: vs.Edwards(D) vs.Kennedy(R)
MS: vs.Baria(D) vs.Sherman(D) vs.Reeves(R) vs.Lott(R)

Retiring 2018:
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(term-limited 2018)
CA-D: Jerry Brown
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CO-D: John Hickenlooper
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FL-R: Rick Scott
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ID-R: Butch Otter
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MI-R: Rick Snyder
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MN-D: Mark Dayton
(retiring 2018)
NM-R: Susana Martinez
(term-limited 2018)
OH-R: John Kasich
(term-limited 2018)
OK-R: Mary Fallin
(term-limited 2018)
SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
(term-limited 2018)
TN-R: Bill Haslam
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WY-R: Matt Mead
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Page last updated: Oct 10, 2018