WADSWORTH — Safety Director Matt Hiscock and Law Director Norman Brague both voiced their opposition to Issue 1 on the Nov. 6 general election ballot during Tuesday evening’s regular city council meeting.
“State Issue 1 is a proposed constitutional amendment to Ohio’s constitution and it is entitled to reduce penalties for crimes of obtaining, possessing and using illegal drugs, yet the constitutional amendment as proposed does much more than that,” Hiscock said during the meeting.
Hiscock said the issue would change the way drug offenses are classified in Ohio, with many current felony level drug offenses that carry possible prison sentences into misdemeanor level offenses or possibly no offense at all.
Cases that would currently be seen at the common pleas court level would be moved down to the municipal court level, resulting in a burden on the Wadsworth Municipal Court.
“Wadsworth having a municipal court, I think we would be hard pressed to meet that challenge of increased caseloads in the thousands,” he said.
Brague said he believes if the issue succeeds, there could be negative consequences at both a local and state level.
“I also want to state my opposition to State Issue 1 and I would urge the people of the Wadsworth community to vote no on State Issue number 1,” Brague said during the meeting.
“I think it has many, many bad implications for the city of Wadsworth as well as for the state Ohio.”
City council voted 5-1 to move a resolution declaring its opposition to Issue 1 to a second reading.
During the Committee of the Whole meeting immediately preceding the city council meeting, At- Large Councilwoman Patty Haskins, who voted against the resolution, said she didn’t believe it was city council’s place to take a formal stance on the issue.
“I just don’t think it is the purpose of this body to start agreeing with or taking sides on state issues,” she said.
Ward 2 Councilman Bob Titus was absent from the vote.
Hiscock said that since Issue 1 is a constitutional amendment, making adjustments to it would require another constitutional amendment, and that it is something that should instead work its way through the state legislature instead.
“This is a constitutional amendment that has very big issues when it comes to changing things in the future or even analyzing things of the future,” Hiscock said. “A constitutional amendment, in my personal opinion, is not the way to go with this type of reform type legislation.”
Medina and Brunswick councils passed resolutions declaring its opposition last week.
Council also unanimously approved legislation Tuesday that prohibits cultivators, processors and retail dispensaries of medical marijuana from operating within the city of Wadsworth.