For marijuana lovers April 20th is an unofficial national holiday, a "high holiday", and every year at 4:20 p.m. cannabis consumers at 420 observances all over the country light up to celebrate the drug, take part in the marijuana legalization movement, and well, get high.
THE WEEDMAN'S mom sat on the stairs in a maroon nightgown, her hands folded neatly in her lap, her face a balance of worry and love.
Elizabeth Brown listened while her son waxed passionately about marijuana and the law on this recent Monday night in her home in Winslow Township, Camden County. Those are Ed "NJ Weedman" Forchion's two favorite subjects, and he's practically a Rhodes scholar on both.
Brown calls him Robby, not Ed, and certainly not Weedman, because Robert's his birth name. She's proud of his fighting spirit, and she helped put it there. She just wishes it had played out differently, maybe law school or something.
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie had an exchange Monday night with New Jersey's most famous pro-marijuana activist — and it actually went pretty well.
Ed Forchion, best known as "NJ Weedman," staked out the governor at the studio of 101.5 FM, where Christie was broadcasting his monthly "Ask the Governor" radio program. As the governor exited, Forchion — sitting in his "Weedmobil" (sic) van across the street — switched on its P.A. system.
Bridget Clerkin | For The Times of Trenton By Bridget Clerkin | For The Times of Trenton
TRENTON -- With chants like "One! Two! Three! Four! Smoke, smoke, smoke some more!" a crowd of more than 100 people supporting the legalization of marijuana descended Saturday on the Statehouse in Trenton.
The "Spring Smoke Out" rally grew in intensity as it progressed through East State Street, culminating with the demonstration outside the Statehouse that included a few dozen people smoking marijuana in protest at 4:20 p.m.
"Who's ready to protest?" Ed "NJ Weedman" Forchion called out to the crowd, eliciting a chorus of cheers. "We are!"
"Who's ready to smoke? Who's ready to vote?" Forchion yelled. "We are!" the group responded, cheering louder than before.
TRENTON — Edward Forchion, also known as the “N.J. Weedman,” submitted court papers Monday alleging that New Jersey’s marijuana laws are “racist” and contradictory.
Forchion is appealing a 270-day jail sentence he has already served from a 2010 motor vehicle stop, when a state trooper pulled him over and found one pound of marijuana in the trunk of the car he was driving, according to court documents.
Forchion argues in his latest brief that the state’s marijuana laws are discriminatory, he said. Forchion cites an ACLU report released last year which showed that blacks are arrested and charged with marijuana crimes four times more frequently than whites.
TRENTON >> Several hundred people gathered in front of the New Jersey statehouse on Saturday to push for the legalization of marijuana. The event would be the second major gathering near the statehouse where the crowd would light up in defiance of the law. The last occurred in April on Easter. No arrests appear to have been made at the event which went off without much complication, despite one individual passing out around the beginning of the event. A relative told organizers that his brother suffers from anxiety and was overcome, he was transported to an area hospital by EMT’s for evaluation.
TRENTON – Ed "NJ Weedman" Forchion's underdog congressional candidacy came to an end this week when a federal judge on Tuesday dismissed his lawsuit that sought to get his name back on the ballot for the November election.
On Sept. 26, Forchion, representing the Legalize Marijuana Party, filed a lawsuit asking the court to issue an injunction blocking the printing of the ballot until a recount was completed in the 3rd Congressional District.
Ever since he was thrown off the ballot in June for lack of signatures, he has maintained that at least five signatures that would have put him over the threshold were wrongfully tossed. But his case stalled in the Appellate Division because he could not produce more than $3,500 worth of transcripts from the administrative law hearing.
In Tuesday's ruling, the judge said there was a "lack of subject matter jurisdiction" in Forchion's suit because the appellate case is still open.
"The open case is open in name only," Forchion said, saying that there hasn't been movement since June.
"I never thought I'd win, but democracy just got stolen in the Third," he continued. "Both (Democratic candidate) Aimee Belgard and (Republican candidate) Tom MacArthur should be embarrassed."
Forchion said he would encourage his supporters to vote for John LaVergne, the other independent candidate, or to write him in.