COLUMBUS—A bill sponsored by State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Allen County) today passed the Ohio House by a vote of 97-0. The bill makes changes to drug trafficking and possession laws regarding cocaine. House Bill 4 restores the statutory penalties for possession of cocaine and clarifies the penalties for the trafficking of cocaine.



Under Ohio’s statutory drug penalty framework, penalties increase with the quantity of the drug involved in the violation. For cocaine, the Ohio Revised Code prescribes five steps or tiers of felony penalties with the increasing amounts of cocaine involved.



The possession penalties were undone by the Ohio Supreme Court’s recent decision in State v. Gonzales, which determined that only the weight of pure cocaine in a substance could be used to set an offender’s sentence. Because of this, cocaine possession regardless of quantity will, as a practical matter, only be prosecuted as a fifth degree felony, the lowest penalty under statute, if the law is not amended.



House Bill 4 modifies this language to clarify that the total weight of the compound, mixture, preparation or substance containing cocaine is included for penalty purposes as had been the legal practice prior to Gonzales. The bill applies to both the offenses of possession and trafficking.



“House Bill 4 addresses an urgent need to repair a hole in the cocaine penalty statutes that would otherwise incentivize drug dealers to push greater quantities of this dangerous drug without any greater penalty,” said Rep. Cupp. “I thank my colleagues for acting so quickly to pass this important legislation.”



The legislation now heads to the Ohio Senate for consideration. The bill includes an emergency clause to make it effective on the day it is signed by the Governor.

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

Cupp Brings House Task Force On BRAC And Military Affairs To Joint Systems Manufacturing Center

 
Lima - 

Today, State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and the Ohio Speaker’s Task Force on Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and Military Affairs visited the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center (JSMC) in Lima.



 
 

Representative Cupp Sworn In As State Representative Of The 4th House District

 
Columbus - 

State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) was sworn in yesterday as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 132nd General Assembly. He represents the 4th Ohio House District, which comprises all of Allen County, for a second term.