New Jersey man in jail stemming from marijuana possession charges permitted to leave prison for 10 days each month to smoke marijuana
Ed Forchion, 49, was arrested for marijuana possession in 2010 then jailed for violating probation last year
He is serving a staggered 270-day sentence which he serves in 20-day installments at a New Jersey prison
The 10 days in between jail stints he travels to California to smoke medical marijuana and receive treatment for cancer
Medical marijuana is legalized in New Jersey but the governor has refused to waive Forchion's sentence
The longtime cannabis activist is also a perennial political candidate in his state
He has recently launched a 'Just Say No to Governor Christie' campaign in response to the latter's reluctance to legalize cannabis
By Alex Greig –
A New Jersey man who was sentenced to nine months prison stemming from a marijuana possession charge has been given permission by the sentencing judge to leave jail for 10 days each month to go to Califonia... to smoke marijuana.
Ed Forchion, 49, is a marijuana activist and cancer patient who has been legally cleared to receive marijuana for medical reasons in California.
Despite the fact that New Jersey has since passed laws legalizing medical marijuana, he still has to leave Burlington County Jail and travel to California to receive his cannabis.
Bad fortune: Ed Forchion is serving a staggered sentence of 270 days in 20-day intervals with 10 days off in between to travel to California for cancer treatment - which includes medical marijuana
Forchion, whose multiple attempts to legally change his name to NJWeedman.com have so far been unsuccessful, has been in and out of prison over the past two decades for his dedication to the cannabis cause.
His latest imprisonment, he says, is 'punishment for being outspoken, and right.
He is suffering from a rare bone cancer that causes him to experience painful giant cell tumors and cancerous lesions.
Every month, Forchion is permitted to fly to California for bone cancer treatment, which includes access to medical marijuana which helps with his pain and has also been shown to shrink and slow the growth of his tumors.
Advocate: Forchion has been a marijuana activist for 20 years, pushing for legalization in the U.S., and particular his home state New Jersey, where medical marijuana was recently legalized
Personal politics: Forchion, AKA NJWeedman.com, says he's being punished for 'being outspoken, and being right'
'I’m clearly a marijuana patient. The judge will let me out to go to California, knowing I’m going to get marijuana as soon as I walk out the door,' Forchion told NJ.com in November. 'I go to California, where I’m treated like a patient for a few days, then I have to turn around and go back to prison.'
Although New Jersey's third medical marijuana facility opened in Woodbridge in December, Forchion says that 'it still takes a year for a patient to actually get his card and then get on the list.'
'There are patients who have had their card for over a year now who still don’t have access to medical marijuana from the programs that are already open,' he told My9NJ.
In a December press conference, Governor Christie told reporters that he is 'not open to' a bill allowing registered medical marijuana patients in New Jersey to purchase cannabis in a state where it's been legalized and bring it back to New Jersey.
Forchion, who has been vocal in his opposition to New Jersey mayor Chris Christie, has himself had a tilt at public office more than once, running for Governor of New Jersey, Congress and the Senate on legalization platforms. Most recently, he has been running his 'Just Say No to Governor Christie' campaign from prison.
Devout: The practicing Rastafarian built this temple to cannabis in Hollywood, where he spent years in self-imposed 'political refuge'
'Governor Christie made a political point to be opposed to the marijuana laws and cannabis laws and just taking a cue from the "Just Say No" campaign I figured I would put out the ads nationally to oppose Governor Christie’s campaign for presidency,' Forchion told My9NJ.
In early November he requested that Governor Christie waive his jail term in light of his illness. He has been unable to receive proper care, he says, as treatment often needs to take place outside of the 10 allocated days. In addition, he says, it's impossible for him to afford flights to California when he's unable to work or raise money.
'I’m going back to Burlington County Jail,' Forchion told the Trentonian over the phone recently, from a Los Angeles bus stop.
'It’s boring. I just sit there in jail with a whole bunch of people who are wasting their lives. Boring. That’s the number one thing. And it doesn’t do one thing. What am I being corrected on? The state already legalized medical marijuana. I’m a medical marijuana patient. This is punishment for being outspoken and right.'