Bellingham, WA – When Martin Nickerson opened Northern Cross Collective Gardens (NCCG), a medical marijuana collective garden, he had the health and well-being of his patients in mind. Operating under the jurisdiction of State Law Rcw 69.51a, his Bellingham, WA location is supported by over 1300 patients, many of whom are disease suffering and seek the protection of the state’s newly implemented medical marijuana legalization laws to use cannabis as natural source of medicine.
When the local police raided his business a few months later however, not only was he surprised, hurt and angered, he along with two of his employees were also arrested and charged with felony crimes ranging from conspiracy, to possession of an “illegal” substance with intent to deliver. Collectively the three face over 25 years in prison if found guilty.
Nickerson and his staff, the “Bellingham Cannabis 3,” plan to fight those charges and win. On Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 8:00 a.m., the “Bellingham Cannabis 3” will join forces with nationally recognized medical marijuana activist Ed Forchion aka NJWeedman during a “Jury Nullification Awareness Protest” to be held in front of the Whatcam County District Court at 311 Grand St. in Bellingham, WA. Northern Cross patients and supportive tax paying citizens will march and speak out against the unprecedented raids on three different collectives in the area while Forchion will provide a national perspective and discuss jury nullification.
The protest will also serve as the launch of NJWeedman’s national “Jury Nullification Tour.” In short, jury nullification is an age-old practice, though rarely implemented, whereby juries have the right to determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant based on their moral interpretation of the law.
The “Bellingham Cannabis 3′ are caught in a legal battle that is being played out in courtrooms across the nation as numerous states come to terms with clarifications concerning their newly implemented cannabis legalization status.
An unlikely trio of sorts, Nickerson is a 36-year-old budding entrepreneur and father, who uses cannabis for afflictions he suffers from degenerative disc disease and acid reflex disease. Chris Ramsey is a 31-year-old patient and volunteer at Northern Cross. Born with Spina Bifida, a severe disorder caused by the incomplete closing of the embryonic neural tube, and severe nerve damage, the use of cannabis has seen him forfeit the use of a host of prescription drugs including muscle relaxers, pain killers, anti-nausea pills, and stool softeners. Saroj Sidhu is a young 22-year college student and she is a former volunteer at Northern Cross.
No one understands this struggle better than Forchion. Forchion solidified his moniker of “NJWeedman” in the medical marijuana community and far beyond when a jury of twelve unanimously acquitted him of possession with the intent to distribute a pound of marijuana during a recent trial in Burlington County, NJ. Forchion is one of the country’s staunchest supporters of jury nullification. He also suffers from bone cancer and uses cannabis to address the painful tumors he has. Prior to his court hearing, Forchion tirelessly and seemingly successfully petitioned the media and the public at large with his “The law is wrong, not I” jury nullification campaign in a concertedly determined effort to win his case.
“The case of the ‘Bellingham Cannabis 3’ broadly exemplifies how the law is unjust and wrong. It is our goal to inform everyone that as members of a jury they have the power to nullify any law that they don’t consider just. My jury did it in New Jersey and I believe we are going to see more and more jury participants across the country utilizing this American right and privilege. It’s what the Jury Nullification Tour is all about and I personally plan to tour the country to increase awareness of it. Let’s free the ‘Bellingham Cannabis 3’ and free ourselves in the process from outdated tyranny and oppression!” cites Forchion.
Adds Nickerson, “With this protest, we hope to better educate our peers and the public about the jury nullification process which can ultimately lead to the proof of our innocence. NCCG is fundamentally a small group of people helping a large group of suffering patients. No one should ever be made to feel like a criminal for that.”
“We pride ourselves in knowing that we provide a safe, comfortable and professional environment for patients to access medicine. Our community is appalled by the allegations that the city of Bellingham and the prosecutor put against us. All we have done is abide by State Law Rcw 69.51a and help sick and dying patients attain a natural plant,” adds Nickerson.
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WEEDMOBIL: Jury Nullification tour with NJWeedman