The DeWine-Husted campaign launched a new television ad Thursday imploring Ohio voters of both parties to “Say No” to Issue 1.
The ad features local sheriffs from both political parties opposed to Issue 1, a proposed constitutional amendment which Democrat Richard Cordray has been pushing for months.
His opponent in the governor’s race, Mike DeWine, has been pushing back.
DeWine, during an Oct. 1 gubernatorial debate in Marietta, told viewers that Cordray stands virtually alone among Ohio politicians in his support of Issue 1.
The proposal would unlock for drug dealers an opportunity to sell opioids such as fentanyl in amounts less than 20 grams without fear of jail-time.
As Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor has pointed out, 19 grams of fentanyl is enough to kill 10,000 people. Yet, a dealer could possess this amount and the courts would be forbidden from sentencing him to jail time.
Issue 1’s financial backers include billionaire Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and George Soros.
In fact, all but $19,000 of the more than $4 million backing Issue 1 has come from outside Ohio.
Zuckerberg’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative contributed $1 million to support Ohio Issue 1, according to state campaign finance reports filed earlier this month.
Other big donations include:
- $1 million from the Open Society Policy Center, a 501(c)4 organization founded by billionaire George Soros
- $1 million from the Open Philanthropy Project, funded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife, Cari Tuna.
- California businessman Nicholas Pritzker and his wife, Susan, contributed $50,000 and $10,000, respectively.
- Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a coalition of labor unions, liberal churches and community organizers, also back Issue 1.
The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and Ohio Common Pleas Judges’ Association oppose the measure.
In the ad, sheriffs refer to Cordray’s support for Issue 1 as “frightening.”
They cite its potential to transform Ohio into a nationwide hub for drug dealers.
Removing jail time from the array of options available to judges will spell disaster, opponents warn.
“That’s a serious threat to your personal safety,” the sheriffs say. That’s because there will not only be more drugs on the streets. There will be more addicts, and more addicts always leads to more spinoff crime.
“It means more crime, more break-ins, more robberies,” warn the sheriffs.
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.