Cannabis Cause Celeb
Mount Holly, New Jersey – On Oct 12th, 2010 the criminal proceedings against Robert Edward Forchion, Jr. begin in a Mt Holly, New Jersey courtroom. If this sounds like déjà vu, you are right!
Edward Forchion (aka NJWeedman) has been the defendant several times in high profile New Jersey marijuana cases. This time Forchion was arrested on April 1st ( April Fool’s Day), with a pound of marijuana that he claims is his medicine and spiritual sacrament. Forchion says it was the state that was foolish that day for arresting him. NjWeedman says the marijuana laws in this country are the dumbest laws since the witch trials of the 17th century. He believes the marijuana laws are based on lies, racism and goofy Christian beliefs that regard marijuana ingestion as a sin. “We the people must stand up and reject these claims and acknowledge the truth, that marijuana is one of the greatest therapeutic substances on the plant and is a gift of God,” cites Forchion.
The state of New Jersey is waging a real “WAR on Drugs”. Tens of thousands of New Jersians are incarcerated, 70 percent for drug offenses. Thousands are arrested each year for marijuana related offenses. One man, Robert Edward Forchion – aka- “The NJWeedman Superhero to the Potheads,” has been fighting the state of New Jersey for years to remove “marijuana” from the state’s list of criminal offenses. In doing so he earned the moniker NJ-Weedman. He even unsuccessfully tried to change his name to Njweedman.com.
In 1997 he was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana after a 40 pound bust in Bellmawr, New Jersey. In 1998 he founded the political party, The Legalize Marijuana Party (www.tlmp.org). In 2000 after several runs for office and national media coverage he went to trial in Camden County for that 1997 arrest (State of NJ – vs – Njweedman1), where he eventually took a plea deal that sent him to prison for 10 years. In April 2002 he was released early into the state I.S.P. Intensive Supervision Program.
Angry at his incarceration, Forchion came out of prison swinging, making three pro-marijuana political ads
(www.njweedman.com/censorship ) that he intended to run on local New Jersey television. State of New Jersey officials re-imprisoned him for this in August 2002. From the Burlington County jail, Forchion filed his own “Writ of Habeas Corpus” alleging the state of New Jersey was violating his right to free speech, imprisoning him for saying “legalize marijuana.”
After 5 months Federal Judge Irenas ruled that:
The First Amendment exists so as to promote debate on issues of public importance. The advocacy of the legalization of marijuana is a legitimate political position in this country. Forchion’s place in this debate will do nothing to harm a public that is already itself debating the current state of our nation’s drug laws. –
February 23, 2003, Irenas ordered Forchion released, agreeing with him that his rights to freedom of speech and expression were being violated.
Besides pointing out that marijuana is far safer than most legal drugs, and the origin of our nation’s marijuana laws were based on racism and ignorance, Forchion has always argued that “marijuana” was factually wrongly classified as a schedule I drug. The Governments own findings require each of the drugs listed as a Schedule 1 drug as:
· The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
· The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
· There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
Marijuana doesn’t fit the description of a schedule 1 drug. Forchion says the term “abuse” is subjective; claiming his use is just that use, not abuse. And as far as the government claims that marijuana has no medical value, Forchion says that’s absurd and an outright lie.
Marijuana has always had medical use; people of color have used marijuana for centuries. Today over a dozen U.S. states have accepted that marijuana is safe to use as a medicine including New Jersey. Thus when the state of New Jersey officially enacted S-119 the “Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” on Jan 18th, 2010 Forchion felt vindicated and triumphant. “This law clearly recognized the medical value of marijuana. It is obvious the state of New Jersey now understands that marijuana has medical value and is not a Schedule 1 drug, as I have been saying for a decade. To continue to prosecute anyone for marijuana is abhorrent to me, ” state Forchion.
After years of fighting the state of NJ and being a victim of persecution by state officials Forchion fled to California in early 2008, in what he termed “political exile”. In a General MacArthur -like statement Forchion had vowed to come back triumphant. “I’ll be back,” he always proclaimed.
Public opinion and policies in California allowed him to function without fear of arrest. In California Forchion obtained his doctor’s recommendation and smokes legally. In California NJWeedman excelled in the pot friendly environment and opened a Rastafarian ministry on Hollywood Blvd., in Hollywood where he provides marijuana to about 1000 of his congregants weekly.
When the state of NJ enacted S119 “I knew it was a step in the right direction but the act has major flaws, yet it emboldened me to bring my own medicine to New Jersey on Easter weekend. I was arrested,” reveals Forchion. Forchion says the state is wrong to charge him with a criminal violation. “Since Governor Christy has taken over the office he has refused to implement S119. It is the state that has failed to fix the situation. The State is wrong not I !!!”
“The director of Health and Human services has failed to accurately reclassify marijuana in light of the state’s obvious acknowledgment with the passage of S119 that marijuana is a medicine in direct contrast to the state’s current criminal classification as a schedule 1 drug – having no medical value,” add Forchion. N.J. STATUE. 24:21-3 had provided: “The director shall update and republish the schedules in sections 5 through 8.1 of P.L.1970, c. 226, as amended and supplemented (C.24:21-5 through 24:21-8.1) periodically.”
The state is now currently using two different standards to describe marijuana and that is unjust in Forchion eyes. On one hand the state still erroneously classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 drug and prosecutes citizens under that standard as a schedule 1 drug, while also through the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act recognizes marijuana has medical value and intends on providing marijuana to citizens as a medicine. This double standard is obviously unconstitutional says Forchion who intends as part of his defense to this charge to challenge the constitutionality of the current New Jersey marijuana laws.
Forchion plans to represent himself and present his arguments directly to the jurors in his trial that the law is wrong not him. Forchion says it is 100% legal for the Jury to render the law null and void. NJ Constitution article 1(6) ……In all prosecutions.., the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact. The tactic is known as Jury Nullification. Jury nullification occurs when a jury returns a verdict of “Not Guilty” despite its belief that the defendant is guilty of the violation charged. The jury in effect nullifies a law that it believes is either immoral or wrongly applied to the defendant whose fate that is charged with deciding. What Forchion plans to do is rare and ballsy. It is a all or nothing approach that state officials will try to stop.
Forchion says marijuana is becoming more and more mainstream everyday and very few people believe the government’s lies about marijuana anymore. Statictics show over 50% of Americans think marijuana should be legal.
“I feel out of a jury of 12 and two alternates at least 4 will have smoked marijuana and several others will have close friends or relatives who they know use marijuana. I will be counting on the potheads who end up on my jury for saving my life, my freedom. All I need is one juror to agree with me and say NOT GUILTY!” concludes Forchion.
To follow the trials and tribulations of Ed Forchion aka NJWeedman, take a hit at http://www.njweedman.com .