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|TOPIC: FOUNDER OF THE LEGALIZE MARIJUANA PARTY FREED [Add your Comment]
|Ed "NJWeedman" Forchion is no longer smoking pot.
Comparatively speaking, this is similar in scope to a magic genie no longer granting wishes.
Forchion, 37, was released last week from state prison, where he served 17 months for possessing 25 pounds of marijuana.
He was released into the state's Intensive Supervision Program (ISP), a heightened form of parole, in which Forchion, among other things, could have his body and home searched for any illegal herbs.
"Obviously, I can't smoke marijuana," Forchion said. "But that won't be a problem. I told the judge I went 17 months on the inside without smoking, and I was offered pot every day. Every day. I was a mini-celebrity in there."
The reason for Forchion's celebrity is due to his unflinching belief that marijuana should be legalized.
Known nationwide as the founder of the LEGALIZE MARIJUANA PARTY, Forchion, a Pemberton resident, has pulled many stunts to bring attention to the legalization movement.
He's run for office, getting 2,706 votes for Burlington County freeholder and 1,983 votes during a congressional run.
He also has lit up joints in courtrooms, a judge's office, and most famously, during a session of the state assembly.
But that's all behind him, thanks to the conviction and the conditions of the ISP release.
"Because of ISP, I can't be an open advocate for legalization," Forchion said. "But none of my opinions have changed. And people know me more now than before, so I don't need to run around with a sign or smoke in the assembly."
While Forchion might be keeping his legalization talk on the back burner, he is still intent on fighting the system that put him in prison in the first place.
Forchion is fighting the battle on many fronts, most notably in Federal Appeals court.
The court accepted his appeal, and Forchion is now waiting for his day in court.
Forchion alleges his trial was unconstitutional due to his not being allowed to call witnesses and his not being allowed to pursue jury nullification as a defense.
Jury nullification, in it's pure sense, is when a jury decides that a law is unjust, and thus refuses to convict.
The trick to this strategy, however, is that it is illegal in Jersey to inform a jury of this right.
Forchion went with the strategy anyway, without help from the Public Defender's office.
And Forchion was not allowed to call witnesses, including doctors, who were set to testify marijuana should be legal.
"What happened was a total sham and mockery," Forchion said. "People just blew me off because I was a pothead. I was the little guy fighting the Goliath of government and they took away my slingshot -- jury nullification. It's the 'We the People' weapon."
While in Riverfront State Prison, Forchion also had trouble securing all the court transcripts needed for his appeal.
After 17 months, he says he now finally has them all.
"I couldn't believe state officials got away with not giving me my transcripts," Forchion said. "It was a cover-up."
One question that hangs over Forchion's head, especially now that he out of jail, is what happens if the federal courts overturn his original conviction? Would he be willing to go back on trial, call his witnesses, practice jury nullification, and risk being sent back to jail? All in the hopes of legalizing marijuana?
"Absolutely," Forchion said, "check-out my website: www.njweedman.com .
Posted: 04-11-2022 10:37pm by NJWEEDMAN
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