At its October 2018 meeting, the board of directors of the Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce voted to oppose Issue 1, which will be on the ballot Nov. 6.
Issue 1 is an example of a cure being worse than the illness. Poorly and suspiciously crafted, this proposed solution to prison overcrowding lacks compassion and common sense. The amounts of possession of drugs that Issue 1 would reduce from a felony to a misdemeanor threatens families and the workplace by delaying at best and denying at worst the assistance that those charged need most. For many, conviction that comes with a mandate of treatment is the only step taken towards recovering from addiction. Issue 1 would enable continued dependence and drug use, further exacerbating the damage to the individuals and their families.
Judges do not sentence in a vacuum. They are benevolent men and women whose robes are heavy with the responsibility they feel to help the convicted drug users overcome their addiction, and criminal sanctions are a necessary tool towards that end. Employers will no longer know via an employment application vital information that could threaten the safety of those who work for them. Families will feel the impact of Issue 1 one the most, as healing is delayed.
Not only is the premise of Issue 1 wrong at every turn, the manner in which is it presented is of concern. A constitutional amendment enshrines this dreadful proposal for Ohio. At some point, the dire miscarriage of intent will become obvious, but not until many more lives are impacted or lost. Walking Issue 1 back will be nearly impossible. And in the meantime, Ohio will be a magnet for those seeking an environment to use and peddle the kinds of drugs and in amounts that nobody argues are dire. This is not how Ohioans want their beloved state to grow and prosper.
The Chamber urges voters to oppose Issue 1 on Nov. 6.
Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce