May 5, 2006
LITCHFIELD, Conn. --A Winsted man arrested for growing marijuana may avoid jail time if he removes bright green images of marijuana plants he spray-painted on his home.

Christopher Seekins -- who lives on High Street -- accepted a plea agreement Thursday in Litchfield Superior Court. He'd receive three years probation on a felony charge of growing marijuana.

Seekins was arrested in October when police discovered about 100 plants in his house. He said they were hemp and part of a research project.

After his arrest, Seekins painted images of the distinctive green leaf on his Victorian-style house, each accompanied by the word "hemp." Town officials say they received several complaints because Seekins' home is visible from Winsted's main thoroughfare.

Seekins, 26, had said the large leaves are in support of legalization of marijuana. He believes firmly in the usefulness of hemp, the coarse fiber of the cannabis plant, from textiles to paper products.

The plea agreement includes a stipulation that would prevent Seekins from painting the leaves again, Supervisory State's Attorney Andrew M. Wittstein said. The state has agreed to drop other charges against Seekins, such as possession of marijuana with intent to sell.

Also as part of the agreement, Seekins will have to perform 300 hours of community service and must refrain from possessing or using illegal drugs. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 30.