Naked pot grower pleads guilty

A 30-year-old Camano Island man who was caught walking naked around the Stanwood Cinemas last fall appeared in court Friday to answer to a charge of growing pot.

Paul Hirshbeel pleaded guilty to a single count of manufacturing marijuana, which carries a standard sentencing range of one to three months in prison.

Judge Vickie Churchill sentenced Hirshbeel to 30 days in jail, which she converted to 240 hours of community service.

According to court records, a Stanwood deputy caught Hirshbeel walking naked outside in Stanwood on the night of Aug. 18. When the deputy was filling out a citation for incident exposure and asked Hirshbeel his occupation, Hirshbeel happily volunteered that he grew marijuana.

Hirshbeel then volunteered to show deputies a grow operation at his home. He gave the deputies a tour of the hydroponic operation, which was in two rooms of an outbuilding, and even picked a bud and gave it to a deputy.

Later, Hirshbeel helped the deputies dismantle the equipment and then wrote a statement admitting his guilt.

In court Friday, Tom Pacher, Hirshbeel’s Coupeville attorney, said that Hirshbeel is “a bright and very intelligent guy” who was going through a difficult time in his life and made some mistakes.

Judge Churchill gave him a lighthearted warning.

“Don’t get into gardening again,” she said, “unless it’s a plant we regard as legal.”

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