Aside from job security, there is one big reason Stow Detective Tom Gottas, of the narcotics division, says marijuana should not be legalized.
"We can't legalize something that leads to bad stuff," he said.
After 20 years on the Stow force, most people he runs into that are doing drugs admit they started with pot.
"It's a gateway drug," Gottas said. "They start with that, and then they want to use something stronger to get higher and get into higher levels of drug abuse."
One of Stow's bigger drug problems is marijuana at the high school, he said during a Neighborhood Watch meeting May 17.
"There's a lot of money in Stow and almost every student at the high school [has the ability to] drive to places like Akron to buy it," Gottas said. "Stow is a great place to live. We have the same problems everyone else has with marijuana, just on a lesser level than bigger communities."
According to police, one in every four traffic stops in Stow results in finding marijuana or drug paraphernalia.
"I've see people's drug use, which started out with marijuana, turn into a big, big, big problem," Gottas said.
Police Seize 88 Marijuana Plants
Recently the department received an anonymous tip on its drug line, 330-689-DRUG, about a home less than a mile away from the Stow Police Department that had a grow operation.
The department seized 88 marijuana plants May 3. Each plant was half grown and valued around $500 each.
Gottas said it's not uncommon for the department to receive an anonymous tip. While the Summit County Drug Task Force is constantly investigating, drugs are found for three reasons: revenge, case consideration and cash.
"Sometimes they get ripped off on a drug deal and want to report the seller," he said. "Other times they've been arrested and want to get their charges reduced."
The department also pays cash to those who go out and buy drugs undercover — usually between $50 and $100, said Gottas.
If anyone wishes to give an anonymous drug tip, call 330-689-DRUG. Gottas said the department does not trace those calls and a number is not picked up by caller I.D.