OPINION: Prosectuor says Issue 1 will decriminalize drug possession

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Credit: Jay LaPrete

EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IS AN OPINION PIECE. On Nov. 6, Ohio voters will get the chance to weigh in on Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that, if passed, would make major changes to the state's drug laws and how they're enforced.

The issue has become hotly debated – many judges, prosecutors and law enforcement leaders are against it, arguing that it will make it harder to fight drug crime; the issue is supported by numerous civil-liberties and minority groups that argue it's a long-overdue fix to antiquated laws.

Here is a sampling of some of the pro and con arguments swirling around the issue.

The Dayton Daily News is committed to presenting all sides of important issues. To see opinion commentary supporting Issue 1, click here. To see opinion commentary against Issue 1, click here

Michael T. Gmoser, Butler County Prosecutor, writes about his opinion on Issue 1. 

Issue One will all but decriminalize possession of the most deadly drugs in our history and make prosecution of those that deal in these deadly drugs nearly impossible. As an example, possession of 19 grams of fentanyl, enough to kill 10,000 people, will become a non-jailable misdemeanor with no threat of jail for first and second offenses in a two-year period.

»TRENDING: What is State Issue 1 on the Ohio ballot this fall?

This is the most obvious failure of Issue 1 and there are many more tucked away in the proposed amendment. No adjoining state to Ohio has such an amendment and will make Ohio a sanctuary state for criminals who would face stiff penalties in Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky who have the good sense to prosecute drug dealers with felony prosecutions.

» WHAT THE CANDIDATES SAY: Governor candidates DeWine, Cordray debate Issue 1

The message to youth will be “try it, you may like it” without criminal consequences, except of course death — as every coroner in Ohio has seen like never before in our history. The war on drugs has been tough, but not lost. We cannot succumb to a mentality that says “if you can’t beat them, join them,” and we as a people cannot support drug dealers of misery and death who profit on the lives of our youth.