State Issue 1 Creates Divide On Drug Treatment Effort

There is a widening gap of logic being proclaimed in the campaign over State Issue 1, which makes a constitutional amendment on how some felony drug possession is handled. 

Stephen Johnsongrove from the group Vote Yes On Issue 1 Campaign, says the biggest emphasis is to "mandate treatment for offenders and no prison time for those convicted with less than 20 grams of a controlled substance". Where that is now a felony, it lesson the offense to a misdemeanor. He added that convicted drug traffickers will still be sent to prison.

But, many judges throughout Ohio, including some on the Ohio Supreme Court, are speaking out against passage of the issue. Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge Dave McKenna says the issue, which recently passed in California, is very misleading and could spell disaster in the effort to curb opiod addiction. He believes the "carrot and stick" still need to be available for judges in order to get many drug offenders into treatment.

McKenna also says the sentencing limitations would include people possessing less than 20 grams of fentanyl, where that amount can kill as many as 10,000 people.

Local judges are speaking out against Issue 1, at the urging of Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.


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