Pubdate: Wed, 27 Mar 2002
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Copyright: 2002 The Columbus Dispatch
Author: J. Huston McCulloch


America's war on drugs, like Prohibition before it, has become an even 
greater evil than the problem it was intended to correct. It is, therefore, 
encouraging that a referendum that would eliminate some of the criminal 
penalties for drug possession in Ohio has a good chance of being on the 
ballot this November ("Supporters ready to press plan for drug offenders," 
Dispatch article, March 10).

Unfortunately, however, this initiative takes the form of a 10-page 
amendment to the Ohio Constitution that inappropriately enshrines details 
about alternative consequences, specific appropriations for drug treatment 
for the next seven years and even timelines for judicial proceedings into 
the state constitution.

The complete amendment, online at, is about twice the 
length of the entire body of the U.S. Constitution. Such details are best 
left to legislation. Ten sentences, instead of 10 pages, would easily have 
done the job and would have let voters know what they were voting on. I'll 
vote for it but would prefer to have seen clutter such as this left out of 
Ohio's Constitution. I wonder what the proponents' lawyers were smoking 
when they drafted it.

J. Huston McCulloch

Professor of economics and finance

Ohio State University Columbus
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