Monday, February 8, 2010

Kevin Riordan: Law disappoints the Weedman

South Jersey marijuana activist-turned-Southern California marijuana
capitalist Ed Forchion, a.k.a. Weedman, is no dope.

I say this not only because the guy is totally sharp, but also because I
want to officially remove tongue from cheek. This column hereby offers
no further puns, double entendres, or wink-winks/nudge-nudges, either
about the Weedman or the culturally ubiquitous illicit drug New Jersey
legalized Jan. 18 for patients with cancer, AIDS, or other debilitating
diseases.

Turns out Forchion was opposed to the bill that former Gov. Jon S.
Corzine signed into law the same day Weedman's entertaining,
thought-provoking and occasionally jaw-dropping autobiography/manifesto,
Public Enemy #420, was published on the Web.

Forchion says New Jersey's measure isn't sufficiently green - no locally
grown product, only government-grown "garbage" - and is "hypocritical"
in falling short of legalization. In other words, it doesn't go far
enough.

Which certainly can't be said of his unruly 353-page opus, detailing as
it does everything from "My First Joint" to an adventure involving "over
100 pounds of weed" and a truck.

"I just basically took a bunch of chapters and Web pages and put them
together with some flashbacks," Forchion, 45, says. "I'm not really an
author. But I am now!"

An impassioned mix of in-your-face earnestness and down-to-earth
grandiosity, Forchion's book presents the father of five, fringe
political candidate, and ex-con (he served 17 months for possession) as
a self-taught First Amendment champion and "peaceful, proud, patriotic
pothead."

Having gone West for a fresh start two years ago, Forchion now operates
a legal medical-marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles called the Liberty
Bell Temple. This enterprise also is incorporated as a church, a status
Forchion maintains will offer protection if the city moves ahead with
plans to crack down on dispensaries.

"I feel free here," he says. "I'm making real good money; I'm paying
child support; I'm buying gifts for people - I'm doing OK. Here in
California, marijuana is not considered the weed of the witches."

He's also a party promoter whose Web site (NJWeedmanPromotions.com)
includes an abundance of video and photo evidence that happy days are
here again. At least in Hollywood.

"A lot of people knew about me here before I even got here," says
Forchion, who began what was essentially a blog in the late 1990s and
later tried unsuccessfully to legally change his name to NJWeedman.com.
"The power of the Internet is incredible. I'm a cybercelebrity."

He's no slouch with old-school media, either. Public Enemy #420 features
a parade of press clippings that chronicle his evolution from
middle-class Burlington County kid to flamboyant activist (lighting up
at the Liberty Bell and other attention-grabbing locales).

One need not be a weed worshipper - a certain columnist certainly isn't
- to appreciate not only Forchion's personal charm, but also his
gumption. There's a touch of Horatio Alger in the Weedman saga.

"I grew up in America," he says. "I'm a capitalist, just like my
parents, who both had their own businesses. After I got out of prison, I
just couldn't make it. So I took a chance and came out here to
California. And now I'm doing pretty good.

"Everybody thinks I smoke the most, because I call myself Weedman,"
Forchion adds. "I have to have weed on me because if I encounter someone
and don't, they would be, 'What do you mean, the Weedman doesn't have
any weed?' I've created a character, and this character has to have
weed. It's kind of funny.

"I don't smoke as much as I used to. But I don't foresee myself ever
totally stopping, either. I'm going to be one of those old guys who
still smokes weed."

California dreamin', indeed.

1 comment:

洋裝 said...

我們能互相給予的最佳禮物是「真心的關懷」。 ..................................................