New Jersey – On this heels of his April 1 arrest for the possession of marijuana, Ed Forchion, better known as the New Jersey Weedman, has announced his bid to run for Congress in the state of New Jersey. The long time cannabis activist is turning up the heat in his bid to not only avoid jail time, but to raise awareness about the contradictory medical marijuana laws in the state of New Jersey. On April 1, 2010, Forchion made headlines when he was busted in New Jersey with a pound of cannibus in the trunk of his car. On May 14, 2010, Forchion filed his petition to run as an independent for New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District seat.
Forchion has lived in California since 2008, operating the famous state-registered medical marijuana clinic, the Liberty Bell Temple on Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, CA, but has always maintained a legal residence in the Pemberton Township in New Jersey.
As the founder of the Legalize Marijuana Party of New Jersey, this is not Forchion’s first bid for office. He has run previous campaigns for Governor, U.S. Senate, Congress, the State Legislature, and the Burlington County Board of Freeholders.
Forchion also plans to file a constitutional challenge to New Jersey’s new medical marijuana law as part of his criminal case. In January, the governor signed legislation that would allow patients diagnosed with severe medical conditions like AIDS and cancer to access marijuana grown and distributed through state-monitored dispensaries. Forchion says he will file a constitutional challenge of the law on the grounds that the state’s criminal code – the one he was arrested and charged under – reads that marijuana has no medicinal value. Forchion will utilize jury nullification to fight to have his charges dropped.
“I’m not that “HIGH” where I think I’ll actually win the election. I’m a protest candidate,” clarifies NJWeedman about his bid for Congress. “I’ll win by bringing maximum national and international media exposure to New Jersey’s racist inspired drug laws and to highlight the racist nature of Burlington County family court. While white New Jersey politicans have for years advocated changing New Jersey’s marijuana laws without punishment, I have been denied the right to see my own child for the last 12 years because of my political stance and beliefs, even though I’m advocating changing the same marijuana laws.”
The racial politics of the “war on drugs” has been well documented. As noted in a recent article by Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance ( http://race.change.org/blog/ view/why_ending_marijuana_ prohibition_is_a_racial_ justice_issue ), “of the 1.8 million drug arrests made last year, 750,000 were for nothing more than possession of a small amount of marijuana. That represents more than 40% of all drug arrests. The best available national evidence indicates that roughly the same proportion of blacks and whites use marijuana – but that black people are roughly three times more likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana.”
As detailed in his new book, “Public Enemy # 420,” Forchion has a history that spans decades in his quest for his right to smoke marijuana legally. A cult figure in the marijuana legalization community, he achieved media notoriety when he was arrested for smoking marijuana in front of the entire New Jersey State Assembly in 2000, and garnered a national platform when he fired it up at Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA during the Republican National Convention. In the 12 plus years since Forchion has become one of the most vocal, and recognized members of the the pro-pot movement, 13 states have passed medical marijuana laws.
Forchion’s NJWeedman video series, filmed from his shop and seen on his website at http://www.libertybelltemple.com/Home.htm and at YouTube.com, commands a following of viewers from around the world. He regularly updates his footage with vivid coverage of the happenings in his shop, including specials on the vast varietals of medicinal marijuana he is now able to serve up legally, daily to his patients.
See NJWeedman in his latest video manifesto at http://www.trentonian.com/video/video-jeff/?media=13993520 .