Rod Driver

Story from the Newport Daily News, April 1, 1988

Chocolate a felony?

PROVIDENCE - A measure passed by the Rhode Island House Tuesday threatens to get the Easter Bunny hopping mad.

With Easter Sunday around the corner, the House passed a proposal to ban various drugs and ended up including chocolate in the process, said Rep. Rodney D. Driver.

In fact, should the measure become law, Easter chocolate fanatics face a 10-year prison term for possession, Driver said.

He said that when he got a copy of the anti-drug bill, he questioned the portion of the measure that targeted cocaine as a product of cocoa leaves.

"I was not that knowledgeable on the subject and questioned if we weren't banning chocolate," Driver said this morning. He said a colleague informed him that chocolate comes from the cocoa bean while cocaine comes from the leaf of the same plant.

Still unconvinced, Driver said he refrained from voting for the bill. A later check of reference books, he said, led to the discovery cocaine comes from the coca leaf, while chocolate comes from the cocoa bean that is found on a different plant altogether, the cacao tree.