Letter to the Editor: Commissioners urge ‘no’ vote on Issue 1

Pictured is the Clermont County board of county commissioners. From left to right at back: David Painter, vice president and David Uible, member. At front, Ed Humphrey, president. Photo provided.

Clermont County Commissioners today (Oct. 3) passed a resolution opposing Issue 1, a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would change drug possession offenses to misdemeanors and eliminate prison and jail time for most drug possession offenses.

Commissioners noted that Clermont County Common Pleas Court judges opposed Issue 1, which they believe would lead to more illegal drug use in Clermont County, and remove any sentencing discretion they have.

Commissioners also believe that Issue 1 would lead to a greater strain on county resources and become more of a tax burden on its residents. Although Issue 1 says that the money saved by reducing the number of offenders in state prisons would be directed toward treatment, the mechanism for doing that is unclear, and Commissioners believe that responsibility would fall to local governments.

“Issue 1 will lead to many unintended consequences in Ohio if voters approve it,” said Ed Humphrey, President of the Board of County Commissioners. “We do believe that the State of Ohio should put more resources toward drug treatment and rehabilitation but we do not believe that Issue 1 is the proper means to achieve that.”

Among those opposing Issue 1 are the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, the Ohio Bar Association, the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, and Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.

“Ohio may end up with some of the most lenient drug crime laws in the nation if this proposed constitutional amendment passes,” Justice O’Connor said. “Our state could easily become a magnet for substance abuse activity because there will be, in effect, very little criminal justice consequences to engaging in such behavior.”

Commissioners urged Clermont County voters to vote no on Issue 1. The General Election will be held Nov. 6.