MOUNT HOLLY - NJWeedman is back
in the Garden State.
Since Thursday night, he has been held at the Burlington County Jail on
drug possession and distribution charges after a routine traffic stop in
the township allegedly turned up about a pound of pot in his trunk,
Edward Forchion, 45, of Studio City, Calif., had his first appearance in
Superior Court on Monday before Judge James Palmer Jr., who raised his
bail from $25,000 to $50,000.
The former Pemberton Township resident appeared from the jail by
closed-circuit television. He asked the judge to keep his bail at the
original $25,000, saying he had just paid on a child support warrant and
would not be able to make the higher bail.
Forchion has grabbed headlines for years in New Jersey and nationwide as
a leading advocate for the legalization of the medical and spiritual use
of marijuana. The founder of the Legalize Marijuana Party of New Jersey
ran unsuccessful but highly publicized campaigns for governor, Congress,
the state Legislature, and the Burlington County Board of Freeholders.
In the past, he has found himself in trouble with the law after smoking
pot at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, inside the State House in
Trenton, and outside the Burlington County court complex in the
In 2008 he moved to California, calling himself a political exile from
New Jersey, and opened the Liberty Bell Temple on Hollywood Boulevard, a
state-registered medical marijuana clinic where he legally sells pot.
In a video on his Web site, Forchion claims he runs the only Rastafarian
ministry in Los Angeles. In his religious practice, marijuana is used as
a sacrament, Forchion has said.
Last month Forchion, who has achieved cult status in the medical
marijuana community, made national news when he produced a flier for his
"Obama One Year in Office Celebration" with a doctored photo of the
president smoking a joint. He also released a memoir, "Public Enemy 420:
NJWeedman SuperHero to Potheads Volume 1." ("420" is slang for smoking
On Monday, Forchion's publicist, Makeda Smith, said that her client has
been "back East for at least a week" and that it wasn't uncommon for him
to return to New Jersey since he has family in the county. Last week he
debated legalizing marijuana as a guest on a radio show out of New York,
"I wish he was back in California, the land of the free and the home of
the brave," Smith said. "He tells me he loves the East Coast, but I'm so
glad he lives in L.A. now."
For now Forchion will remain in jail until he can post bail.
A state trooper stopped Forchion at 10:12 p.m. Thursday on westbound
Route 38 for failing to obey a red light at Pine Street, according to
Sgt. Stephen Jones, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Police.
During the stop, the trooper smelled marijuana and saw a glass smoking
pipe on the rear seat of the vehicle, Jones said.
Forchion was taken into custody but refused to permit the trooper to
search his vehicle. A warrant was obtained and a plastic-wrapped package
containing about 1 pound of marijuana was found in the trunk and seized,
He was also found in possession of $2,000 in cash, which also was
He was charged with possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana,
possession of drugs with the intent to distribute, and possession of
Forchion also was wanted on an outstanding traffic warrant out of
Franklin Township, Somerset County, and a court warrant for $10,000 in
unpaid child support, Jones said.
Smith said Forchion pays his support directly to the mothers of his
children, refusing to pay through the court. In court Monday, Forchion
said he paid the warrant and supports three children and pays rent for
his 24-year-old daughter.
He also gave his old Hanover Boulevard address in the Browns Mills
section of Pemberton Township. He told the judge he would fight the
charges and would likely represent himself with the assistance of a
Forchion, who at one time was legally known as NJWeedman, was last in
the county jail in 2003, when he spent five months for violating
provisions of an intensive parole supervision program he was enrolled in
after being released from state prison in 2000.
He served 16 months of a 10-year sentence for distributing and
possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute for a 1997 offense.
Contact: dcamilli@phillyBurbs.com or 609-267-7586
Contact: dlevinsky@phillyBurbs.com or 609-871-8154
Personal message to my future juror, keep quiet dont tell anyone your going to flatout acquit no matter what the prosecution presents - Just say "NOT GUILTY" utilize Jury Nullification to end this ridiculous war on potheads.