Cocaine

Reporter’s Notes

Units of Measurement.  The statutes within title 18, chapter 84, are inconsistent in that they do not all use the same system of measurement.  For example, under 18 V.S.A. § 4231(3) and (4), cocaine is measured in pounds and ounces, which are units of weight or force in the English system, whereas under 18 V.S.A. § 4231(2), the cocaine is measured in grams, which is a unit of mass in the metric system.  Sometimes it is necessary to ask the expert witnesses to convert their measurements into the appropriate units.  The committee suggests that the drug statutes should be amended to provide for consistent use of the metric system, which is preferred for scientific measurement and calculations.

 “Dispensing.”  The word “dispense” is defined under 18 V.S.A. § 4201(7) to include “distribute, leave with, give away, dispose of, or deliver.”  It is the committee’s understanding that “dispensing” a regulated drug necessarily involves a transfer to another individual.  One who disposes of regulated drugs by flushing them down the toilet is not thereby guilty of dispensing.  While it may be a crime to possess the drug, it is not a crime to dispossess oneself of cocaine so long as the dispossession does not involve selling or dispensing.  State v. Harris, 152 Vt. 507, 509 (1989).

 

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