Justice: Issue easing drug crime penalties ‘hidden disaster’
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s top judge is calling a November ballot proposal a “hidden disaster.”
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor says in an op-ed released Tuesday that passage of Issue 1 could result in Ohio having some of the most lenient drug laws in the country, making the state a potential magnet for substance abuse activity.
The constitutional amendment would reduce purchase, possession or use of a host of drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and LSD, from felony to misdemeanor offenses, among other things. Jail time couldn’t be imposed until the third offense.
O’Connor, a Republican and former prosecutor, predicts that Issue 1 would severely hamper the effective use of Ohio’s drug court programs to reduce drug abuse and addiction.
Supporters argue cost savings could support drug treatment and crime victim compensation.