AG: Issue easing drug crime penalties would worsen crisis

COLUMBUS (AP) — The Republican candidate for Ohio governor says a November ballot issue aimed at reducing sentences for many drug crimes would make the state’s drug epidemic much worse.

Attorney General Mike DeWine said Monday that Issue 1 could erase the progress Ohio has made against the deadly opioid crisis.

The constitutional amendment would reduce felony offenses for buying and using a host of drugs, including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and LSD, to misdemeanor offenses.

Jail time couldn’t be imposed until the third offense.

DeWine Democratic opponent, Richard Cordray, backs Issue 1.

Cordray says drug dealers need to serve long prison sentences, but he says Ohio should do more to get low-level drug offenders substance abuse treatment instead of putting them in prison.