Columbus – The Ohio Chamber of Commerce announced today its opposition to State Issue 1, the flawed proposal to amend Ohio’s Constitution to reduce penalties for crimes of obtaining, possessing, and using illegal drugs.
“Ohio employers currently face a growing problem of building a talented and productive workforce, and many of them can’t find enough workers who can pass a pre-employment drug test,” said Andrew E. Doehrel, Ohio Chamber president and CEO. “As Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and others have pointed out, Issue 1 could increase the prevalence of drugs and drug abuse in our state by instituting some of the most lenient drug crime laws in the nation.”
“Effectively legitimizing illegal drugs is one of the last things Ohio should be doing right now, as we continue to grasp with how to address the devastating opioid epidemic. The Ohio Chamber wants Ohio to be open for business…but not for drug dealers,” added Doehrel. “We also share many of the same concerns raised by other groups who oppose this issue, including that it doesn’t belong in the Ohio Constitution, where it would require yet another constitutional amendment and another statewide election to make any changes to fix its flaws.”
As is typical of many of the recent proposed constitutional amendments that Ohioans have been asked to consider, the backers of State Issue 1 include wealthy, out-of-state special interests.
“This proposal also underscores the ongoing problems with our defective process for amending the constitution, which out-of-state special interests continue to manipulate and abuse,” Doehrel noted. “We need to have a serious conversation about how to fix this process and safeguard the Ohio Constitution.”
Founded in 1893, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce is Ohio’s largest and most diverse statewide business advocacy group. The Ohio Chamber works to promote and protect the interests of its business members, large and small, while building a more favorable business climate.