Friday, November 22, 2013

Why is Cocaine Sold in Metric Units?

Cocaine has been in the news quite a bit lately. This left a Slate.com blogger puzzling, "Why is cocaine metric?" Which in turn left me puzzling, how do we quantify drugs for purposes of defining crimes here in Ohio? We all know .08 is the customary blood alcohol limit. Here's what I've found for cocaine:

For BUIs (boating under the influence), cocaine in the bloodstream or urine is measured in nanograms per milliliter. For possession generally, Ohio measures severity of the crime in grams.

Knowing this, consider the blogger's reasoned thinking:
As a fan of powers of two, it seems to me that it would be nice to traffic pounds of cocaine with each pound divided into 128 eight balls. In metric units, a single kilogram of cocaine contains 285.71 eight balls, which is totally ridiculous.