In Winsted, Connecticut, Christopher Seekins, 26, was arrested in October, 2005, for cultivating marijuana and possession of drug paraphenalia after police found 100 marijuana plants in his house, along with grow lights, fertilizers and portable heaters. Seekins said they were hemp and part of a research project.
After his arrest, Seekins painted images of the green leaf on his Victorian-style house, each accompanied by the word "hemp." Town officials say they received several complaints because Seekins' home on High Street is visible from Winsted's main thoroughfare.Seekins has agreed to remove the marijuana paintings as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors to avoid jail time.
Seekins has said the large leaves were painted in support of legalization of marijuana. He also believes in the usefulness of hemp, a biological relative of marijuana that is used in products from soap and cosmetics to rope and luggage.
He pled guilty Thursday in Litchfield Superior Court to a charge of growing marijuana and Supervisory State's Attorney Andrew M. Wittstein agreed to three years probation. He was also barred from painting the leaves on his house again.UPDATE: Town says it not illegal to paint marijuana leaves on home.
The state agreed to drop other charges, such as possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Seekins will have to perform 300 hours of community service and refrain from possessing or using illegal drugs.
Town officials said the marijuana paintings apparently do not conflict with local laws.
"There's nothing in the property maintenance code that deals with writing on your house," Joe Beadle, chief code enforcement officer, said.
This is a great example of how conservatives go about achieving their goals, such as outlawing abortion and imposing religion on government. In incremental steps, they break down the barriers that serve as sentinels against encroaching erosion of the rights themselves. In this instance, it's a first step in narrowing the Constitutional right of free speech. Seekins agreed to give up his right of free speech in order to stay out of prison. For cultivating marijuana. He lost his right as a citizen to participate in our democracy, a government of citizen-created laws. He is being denied the right to try to influence other citizens to change the law.
I don't know Connecticut law, but I have no doubt that three things are going to happen:
1.) Seekins' neighbors are going to spend an inordinate amount of time with Winsted, Connecticut's City Attorney and the Winsted Town Council trying to enact an ordinance that would outlaw certain words and colors being painted on private property.
2.) Prosecutors (state and federal) are going to be using this case as a precedent for expanding on what they can force citizens to do, by imposing restrictions which on their face would never pass Constitutional-muster.
3.) All that anybody will remember about this case is that somebody got in trouble with the law for having painted pictures of marijuana plants on the side of a house, and that he had to remove them or go to jail. Human nature being what it is, citizens will accept another curb on their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights, believing that those in authority have the immutable right to do whatever they want.
Filed under: Conservatives, Christopher Seekins, Winsted, Connecticut, hemp, marijuana, painted house, free speech, constitutional rights, High St.