State Issue One will lessen drug crime punishment, local judges - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

State Issue One will lessen drug crime punishment, local judges react

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Drugs included in the issue are fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, and other controlled substances. Drugs included in the issue are fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, and other controlled substances.
Both Judge Hursh and Judge Jeffrey Reed said the language sounds as if it is decriminalizing drug offenses. Both Judge Hursh and Judge Jeffrey Reed said the language sounds as if it is decriminalizing drug offenses.

This November it's up to voters to decide on state issue one, a constitutional amendment titled the "Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment." If passed, charges of drug possession or use could only be classified as misdemeanors with probation as the only punishment. Only after the third offense within two years would the offender then serve jail time. The money saved from jail costs from this initiative, if passed, would go to drug rehabilitation centers.

According to local judges, this amendment would affect drug courts.

"Well it would definitely impact our drug court because one of the incentives for someone to participate is that they’re not doing what would be a typical jail sentence on a drug charge or a drug-related charge," said Judge Tammie Hursh of Lima Municipal Court.

Drugs included in the issue are fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, and other controlled substances. Both Judge Hursh and Judge Jeffrey Reed said the language sounds as if it is decriminalizing drug offenses.

"Decriminalizing this and making these offenses and misdemeanors or less and not having that hammer hanging over an offenders head, I think will create a problem in terms of not making an offender realize that there’s repercussions for bad behavior," Judge Reed said of Allen County Common Pleas Court. 

Funding for the issue comes from Ohio Organizing Collaborative. They received it from organizations like Open Society Policy Center, Open Philanthropy Project Action Fund and the Chan Zuckerburg Advocacy. According to their websites, all are for criminal justice reform and not based in Ohio.

"My understanding is there is a lot of out of state money being put, first of all, getting this amendment on the ballot," said Judge Reed. "Groups that I don’t think, necessarily,  have the best interest of the state of Ohio on their agenda."

You can find the full language of the Issue on the Secretary of state's website here

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