Wednesday, April 7, 2010

'NJ Weedman' has high hopes after pot bust

Ed Forchion doesn't deny it. There was a pound of marijuana -
"high-grade California Kush" - in the trunk of his rent-a-wreck when he
was stopped in Mount Holly on Thursday night by a state trooper.

The dreadlocked Rastafarian - better known as "NJ Weedman," who ran
unsuccessfully for New Jersey governor and U.S. and state representative
on the Marijuana Party ticket - was released from the Burlington County
jail on Tuesday after posting $50,000 cash bail for drug possession and
distribution charges.

He didn't get intend to be arrested, said Forchion, 45. "But now that
I've been charged, it feels like destiny. That's exactly what I wanted
to do."

Forchion, who moved from Browns Mills two years ago to open a
medical-marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles called the Liberty Bell
Temple, said he returned to South Jersey last week "to spend a little
time in the courts."

Forchion has been a vocal critic of the New Jersey law, passed in
January, that legalized marijuana use by patients with cancer, AIDS,
glaucoma and other debilitating diseases.

"I was coming home on a mission to file some paper work and challenge
it," Forchion said on Tuesday.

The criminal statute in New Jersey states that marijuana has no
medicinal value, he said. The new measure does recognize a medical use
for the drug, but only gives "a certain class of people" permission to
use it.

Forchion said the law violates the equal protection clause of the 14th

His arrest on Thursday gives him the opportunity to take his stand to
the New Jersey courts, he said.

"I'm going to fight," Forchion said, acknowledging that he could be
sentenced to seven years in prison if convicted. "I'm not afraid to go
to jail. I think I can win."

Forchion was driving a rented 2001 Pontiac Grand Am Thursday after 10
p.m. when he pulled up to a stop light on Route 38. He said he had been
visiting his children in Burlington County and was headed to Camden
County, where he planned to stay with other relatives.

A trooper who pulled alongside Forchion said the Pontiac rolled into the
intersection before the light turned green, said Sgt. Steve Jones, a
state police spokesman.

After stopping the Pontiac, the officer smelled burnt marijuana and saw
a glass smoking pipe on the rear floor. Forchion also had two
outstanding warrants, one for non-payment of child support and another
for a delinquent traffic fine, Jones said.

Forchion says the pound of marijuana troopers found in a suitcase was
for personal use. He denies he had any intention of selling it.

"A pound of marijuana is like a carton of cigarettes to me. What do they
think I was going to do? Sell nickel bags on the corner?" he scoffed.
"I'm the Weedman."


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