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Medical Marijuana Patient From California on Trial in New Jersey for Medical Marijuana Possession

Daily Dose 2011-04-19 0 comments

By Danielle Camilli |  Published in

Ed Forchion (aka NJ Weedman) listens to a question while on the stand before Burlington County Superior Court in Mount Holly, NJ. (BCT Staff Photograph/Dennis Mc Donald)

Activist NJWeedman has filed a brief in his pending criminal case arguing that the state’s medical marijuana is unconstitutional.

Former Pemberton resident, Ed Forchion, now living and running a medical marijuana dispensary in California, submitted his brief Friday in Burlington County Superior Court, where he is fighting criminal charges for possession.

In his 80-plus brief he raises several issues, including that the New Jersey should no longer classify marijuana as a schedule I drug, like cocaine or heroin, since it has now recognized it has medicinal value.

Forchion claims the criminal possession laws and the medical marijuana statute are contradictory and therefore unconstitutional.

He also argues as an approved medical marijuana user in California he should not have been charges since he uses the drug for “medical necessity.”

Forchion said if successful on the merits of his brief he could not only put the criminal case to rest, but also change how the state’s medical and criminal marijuana laws are enforced.

New Jersey became the 14th state in the nation to legalize the use of medical marijuana when the legislation was signed into law in January 2010. Patients would access marijuana grown and distributed through state-monitored dispensaries.

A Burlington County grand jury indicted Forchion in August on third-degree possession with the intent to distribute and a fourth-degree possession of drug paraphernalia. In October, he pleaded not guilty.

"A videotape recording of the traffic stop does not show Forchion’s vehicle going through the red light, but Rayhan is heard telling Forchion that he stopped him “because before the light turned green, you went forward like you were going through the red light." (BCT Staff Photo/Mc Donald)

He, however, readily admits that he had about a pound of marijuana in the trunk of his rental car on April 1 when police stopped him on Route 38 in Mount Holly for rolling through a red light. The Rastafarian said he had the drugs for his own spiritual and medicinal purposes.

Forchion argues New Jersey’ medical marijuana law is too restrictive to help many patients.

He has been in self-styled “political exile” from New Jersey since 2008. While he maintains a legal residence in Pemberton, he lives and works in California.

Forchion runs the Liberty Bell Temple on Hollywood Boulevard, a state-registered medical marijuana clinic where he legally sells pot and claims to run the only Rastafarian ministry in LA.

“I’m looking forward to my up coming trial…I’m looking forward to a triumphant victory,” he said.

Forchion is due back in court in June before Superior Court Judge Charles Delehey.