Ohio high court: Sentences based on pure cocaine, not filler

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s top court says sentences for suspects caught with cocaine must be based on how much pure cocaine the suspects had.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 Friday that sentences cannot be based on the weight of the entire amount, which could include filler material such as baking soda.

The 2012 case stemmed from a drug sting near Toledo that netted an 11-year sentence for a man convicted of buying more than 100 grams of cocaine from an undercover informant.

Prosecutors across Ohio have said the type of ruling issued Friday could delay and shorten sentences for suspects caught with cocaine and force costly changes upon law enforcement.

The defendant’s lawyer argued that state lawmakers intentionally singled out cocaine but that prosecutors also considered filler material when deciding on charges.