Proving Weight in Drug Cases


What happens when an illegal drug like cocaine or marijuana is mixed with legal substances? Does the state crime lab weigh all of it or just the illegal part? Well, in Ohio, if it is cocaine, the weight of the cocaine cannot include the weight of the filler. Possession of any amount of cocaine in Ohio is a fifth degree felony. To be guilty of a higher degree felony, Ohio’s cocaine possession statute requires a certain amount of cocaine be present. However, the definition of what constitutes as cocaine is far more specific than what is defines as marijuana, which includes:

“[A]ll parts of a plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not; the seeds of a plant of that type; the resin extracted from a part of a plant of that type; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of a plant of that type or of its seeds or resin.”

As of now, the Ohio legislature has not amended the statute to get around this Ohio Supreme Court case that limits how cocaine can be measured (State v. Gonzales, December 23, 2016). Time will tell if the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association lobbies to clean up this language.