In yet another update to previous blog posts (here, and here), the Ohio Supreme Court has reconsidered a case that has drastic implications for how the weight of drugs, and specifically cocaine, is determined. In State v. Gonzales, the Court initially held that the State must prove the weight of the actual cocaine, excluding any weight of filler materials used in the mixture. The State requested that the Court reconsider its decision and, when it did, it reversed its previous decision and now held that the entire “compound, mixture, preparation, or substance,” including any fillers that are part of the usable drug, must be considered for the purpose of determining the appropriate penalty for cocaine possession.
The Court based its new decision on the fact that it believed that statute defining “cocaine” was clear and unambiguous and that “cocaine” includes any fillers. It also examined the legislative history of the statute and determined the legislature’s intent was not to limit “cocaine” to pure cocaine.
Although Gonzales was initially viewed as a win for the defense bar, this decision can be seen as a win for the State. As a result of this case, 2.99 Kilograms of baking soda and .01 Kilograms of cocaine equals 3 Kilograms of cocaine.