Issue One is a proposed constitutional amendment that Richard Cordray strongly supports and has spent much time talking about as his solution to combatting the opioid epidemic. If passed though, it will have devastating consequences.
The proposal would mean Ohio would end up with some of the most lenient drug crime laws in the nation -- making our state a safe haven for drug dealers and giving the Mexican drug cartels a road map straight into our neighborhood.
Issue One will take Ohio backward in our fight against the opioid epidemic by not charging people accused of deadly drug crimes with felonies. This threat, carefully used by our judges, has saved thousands and thousands of live. Issue One would take it away, and thousands will remain in the grips of opioids by not getting the treatment they need to recover. Because the truth is that some people just don’t go into treatment unless they are pushed to do it.
Take Fentanyl, for example, which is the drug that continues to drive our overdose death rate in Ohio. Fentanyl can be up to 50 times deadlier than heroin. Under even the most generous reading of Issue One, an individual caught with up to 19.99 grams of fentanyl -- that is approximately 10,000 fatal doses -- cannot be charged with anything more than a misdemeanor.
Issue One would effectively make deadly drug possession offenses the equivalent of speeding tickets. By doing so, it would create unfunded mandates that our already financially-strapped counties cannot afford. It would flood our streets with more drugs. And it would result in fewer people in treatment -- not more.
Additionally, Issue One says that if you are in prison for anything that is not a death sentence, life without parole, murder, rape, or child molestation (which is not defined) you are eligible for up to a 25% sentence reduction.
This means human traffickers, armed robbers, kidnappers, and many others convicted of very serious crimes would be eligible for up to a 25% sentence reduction. It is outrageous, and wrong.
This poorly drafted plan is reckless, and will fail our families and our communities.
Richard Cordray could not be more out of touch with Ohio.