Schools Get Pot Grower's Tools!

Schools Get Pot Grower's Tools!
Posted by FoM on June 12, 1999 at 13:42:04 PT
Source: Cleveland Live
ELYRIA The tools that helped Robert Black grow marijuana in his garage are going to help students grow tomatoes in the classroom.
The Lorain County Drug Task Force next week will give a hydroponics system of lights, fans, hoses, growing trays and timers to Keystone High School for its agricultural program."This is going to be much more productive on our end of things than from where they took it," said Principal Thomas Hlavsa.Heather Tegtmeier, the school's agriculture teacher, said the equipment will help students study plant anatomy and the effects of different fertilizers on soils. She said the additional equipment will expand experiments and allow students to grow different plants and flowers.The items came from a search of Black's home and garage in Vermilion in January 1998. Based on tips, investigators went into the home and seized marijuana, smoking bongs, drug magazines, seed starters, cash, fertilizer, carbon dioxide and an elaborate hydroponics system.In an order this week, Common Pleas Judge Mark A. Betleski ruled the school would receive the hydroponics setup, scales and other items, including a high-powered vacuum and extension cords. It won't receive any of the magazines, seed starters or smoking items.Nor will the school get any money. Prosecutors and drug agents will split the $1,076 seized for future investigations. But the school isn't complaining."For a teacher, that is gold falling into your lap," said Michael Miller, an agriculture expert with the Ohio State University Extension. "To have someone give you things to run your program is just great. We need more of this."Capt. Dennis Cavanaugh, the leader of the Drug Task Force, said the unit often offers items seized during investigations to the public at sheriff's sales and auctions. But guns and drugs are destroyed. So are most hydroponics devices."You don't want to send this stuff back on the streets for someone else to start using it again," Cavanaugh said. "This way, it can benefit students with their projects."Cavanaugh said his office in the past has given high-quality scales, which once weighed drugs, to Firelands High School for chemistry classes. He said it will continue to offer such tools to schools around the county, and officials say some of them can be quite valuable."There's a lot of stuff there," said Richard Gronsky, an assistant county prosecutor who handled the forfeiture. "Some of it is expendable, such as the bulbs that will burn out. But there are other things that will last a long time."Earlier this month, Betleski sentenced Black to probation for two years on charges of cultivating marijuana and possessing drug abuse paraphernalia.Cavanaugh waited for court orders to return before making the arrangements to give the items to the school. The school, which ended its year Wednesday, has won several awards in recent years for its Future Farmers of America program."Last week, they had some chicks back there, and they are always doing something," Hlavsa said. "They have plant projects, they have their farm projects at home. It's nice to get a gift like this."
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