MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Commissioners came out strongly against State Issue 1. They did it in the form of a Resolution to oppose the issue and all three commissioners voted to support the resolution.
Commissioner Tom Whiston spoke about the reasons to vote ‘No’ on Issue 1 at the County Elected Official’s meeting Monday.
A major concern stated in the resolution is that this issue would reduce drug penalties.
The proposed amendment in Issue 1 would sometimes eliminate jail time for repeat drug offenders. This would be eliminating felony 4 and 5 offenses and make them misdemeanors. Drug users, addicts and dealers would no longer be facing jail time or major penalties for possession of illegal drugs. That would include even heroin, fentanyl and cocaine among other drugs.
Whiston made the point that another reason for opposition is that this would be an amendment to the state Constitution. The constitution should only be amended for major policy matters that can’t be handled by the legislature.
Commissioners discussed that the courts and law enforcement have come out strongly in opposition to the issue, That is because it would take away much of the incentive that drug addicts and drug offenders have to go into rehabilitation and drug court.
The commissioners also state in their resolution that The County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the Public Safety Committee have overwhelmingly voted to oppose State Issue 1. The proposed amendment is also opposed by the county law enforcement community, including judges, prosecutors, sheriffs and clerks of court.
Commissioner Burgess Castle said that Richland County and many county officials have come out against the issue. There is evidence that the proposed amendment has been funded by outside sources with poor drafting.
To see the wording on the ballot for Issue 1 see: Ohio Secretary of State, www.sos.state.oh.us>ballot-board and see arguments on both sides in League of Women Voters, https://my.lwv.org/ohio/ohio-issues.