Parker: Vote no on Issue 1

Once again, outside big money is trying to buy Ohio voters with another drug deal.  Now these out-of-state crazies want to allow for reducing drug penalties to those who are selling on our streets and in our neighborhoods.  Didn’t we tell them a couple of years ago that Ohio doesn’t want to be known as a drug-induced state?

Phil Parker, president & CEO, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Issue 1 is insane … and here is why:

  1. Issue 1 makes possession of deadly drugs (including fentanyl) nothing more than a misdemeanor, and forbids jail sentencing for the first two offenses, no matter what quantities of drugs are involved.
  2. Issue 1 significantly damages Ohio’s economy and our job development efforts. Ohio would be alone among states in our region with ultra-liberal drug laws – at a time when Ohio employers already complain that they cannot find workers who can pass drug tests.  Issue 1 would drive jobs from Ohio.
  3. Issue 1 puts Ohio drug laws in the Constitution where they can be changed only through lengthy process and vote of the electorate. Ohio would be unable to respond rapidly to any new drug threat.
  4. Issue 1 will flood Ohio’s streets with drugs. With all deterrent gone except traffic-violation-level fines, possessors of drugs would laugh at police knowing they cannot be jailed.
  5. Issue 1 enables the immediate release of as many as 10,000 felony offenders from Ohio prisons into our communities.

We in Ohio, especially in our Dayton region, know far too well the ravaging effects of the opioid crisis including and especially the unfettered use of fentanyl.  We don’t need more of the same on our streets.

Right now, we have business organizations, like our chamber of commerce, all over the state of Ohio coming out against Issue 1.  Not only does the vast majority of our law enforcement leaders around Ohio say no to Issue 1; but now your local and statewide governments are also standing up against Issue 1 and the drug wackos.  They understand that the cost of enforcement and the costs associated with reducing the consequences, both intentional and unintentional, will have severe impacts on our services and tax dollars.  They, too, are clearly saying “No” to Issue 1.

Our chamber has always stood for good government and we believe that the continued use of our Ohio Constitution as a method of allowing the drug proponents to have an open playground is not in our best interest.  At a recent October 2 press conference, we collaborated with area employers and law enforcement to denounce Issue 1.  Mat Heck, Montgomery County Prosecuting Attorney, said it so well when he said “Issue 1 will handcuff our ability to reduce opioids and fentanyl off our streets.”

You may have also seen where we invited Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor to speak to our community this past Thursday, October 28 and she was clear in her position that Issue 1 would make the possession of powdered fentanyl in amounts less than 20 grams a misdemeanor with only probation as the consequence.  This means that drug offenders and dealers, caught with 19 grams of fentanyl … enough to kill 10,000 people … would easily continue their devastation of our communities.  She, like me, feels allowing this to happen in and to Ohioans is unconscionable.

This does not belong in our Ohio Constitution, let alone the negative impacts it will have on our citizens, employers and state.  I hope you will see how incredibly stupid these outsiders are to try to force this on us.  A “no” vote against Issue 1 on November 6 is our most rational and logical vote if we are to protect Ohio.

Thank you for protecting Ohio and your neighbors.

Phillip L. Parker, CAE, CCE
President and CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Download a PDF of this article as it appeared in the Dayton Daily News.