News Link • Drug War
Jury Nullification Keeps NJ Weedman Out of Jail; DEA Comes Calling
Last week, Ed
Forchion, a.k.a. the NJ Weedman, was found
of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute
after being caught by cops in New Jersey with a pound of marijuana
in his car. Formerly a perennial third party candidate in the
state, the Weedman took his activism in support of legalizing
marijuana to California, where he opened a medical marijuana
dispensary. He was caught in New Jersey while visiting and wanted
to use the trial to test New Jersey’s recent medical marijuana law,
which requires registration and purchase from one of
in the state. A pound of marijuana,
because it is a lot of weed, automatically yields a possession with
intent charge. The jury found him not guilty.
His California dispensary, meanwhile, had been raided in
December by the DEA and, relentless, Forchion opened another
one. The feds, though, have kept their eye on the Weedman.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Monica Yant Kinney
his victory was short-lived:
"Two hours," Forchion gripes. "Two hours after
I won, I got a call from the DEA in L.A. They had a 'Google Alert'
on me. Sore losers."
…No federal charges were ever filed against Forchion, but the DEA
still has his belongings. The phone call last Thursday was an
invitation of sorts for him to stop by and pick up (some of) his
A day later, as Forchion remained in New
Jersey, another DEA agent visited his new
dispensary - the "United States Collective" conveniently located
near the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.
"I'll advise you to close by the end of business today," the agent
reportedly said, "or we're going to launch another investigation
and you'll be involved."
…I called the DEA Press Office in L.A. seeking comment, but Special
Agent Sarah Pullen couldn't say anything about what she dubbed an
"If Mr. Forchion wants to provide information, that is his
Choice is one of Forchion's favorite words.
He chose to seek out an investor to open a second dispensary
knowing the feds would come knocking and he could again lose
He chose to put New Jersey's criminal statute up against the
state's medical-marijuana law, to force jurors to question why a
drug he can use legally in California to ease agony should cause
him even more pain in the Garden State.
"You know," Forchion reminds, "I could still get 18 months in
prison for being convicted of possession.
"I never denied that weed was mine. I admitted it."
You can’t vote for the NJ Weedman for president this year, but
there are at least a couple of candidates on the ballot that have
admitted to drug use, Barack Obama, who’s spent four years as
vigorously prosecuting the war on drugs, and another, Gary
Johnson, who wants to end the war on, and legalize, drugs.
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