PARENTAGE and POLITICS
On Oct. 17th, 1996 Ed Forchion filed a petition with the Burlington County New Jersey Family court to enforce his parental rights. He had recently split up with his girlfriend LINDA HOLDEN who was the mother of his new born daughter Ajanea. Linda gave Ed a ultimatium to stay with her or never she his child again. The case grew ugly. Linda made numerous “bogus” claims and ratted on Ed all in vengeful spiteful nasty attempt to keep Ed from his own child.
To Linda's delight on November 1997 Ed Forchion was charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to sell marijuana. Forchion pleaded not Guilty and claimed the law itself was wrong. In an attempt to take a stand on the larger issues, against these charges he pursued a defense which he called Open ADVOCATION OF JURY NULLIFICATION; jury nullification... is a little-known argument contending that while the accused may have committed the acts described, no law should prohibit those acts, as those acts are inoffensive and the Jury has a right to nullify the law instead of convicting the defendant. It was a novel approach that garnered plenty of legal discussions and media attention.
On April 20th,1998 Mr. Forchion formed the Legalize Marijuana Party and proceeded to run for local and state offices as a way of bringing attention to the “Legalization Cause” as well as presenting his case as a case for the People/Jury to openly reject the law with a Jury Nullification verdict. Mr Forchion made “media attention” one of his goals and was pretty successful at gaining mainstream attention which then was then diverted to his website: NJWEEDMAN.COM – He even attempted to change his name to NJweedman as a way of getting hits to his website. Where he openly advocated legalizing marijuana!
In March 1998 Forchion married Janice Bailey and proceed to have two more kids with her. Mr. Forchion continued to pursue his right to custody/visitation and care of his other child Ajanea. While his media attention was great for his Jury Nullification Defense it was used against him in Family Court. Linda came to court with newspaper stories of his “political statements on marijuana”. At no time previously had Ajanea’s mother objected to Mr. Forchion's use or advocacy of marijuana prior to the breakdown of their relationship, and that breakdown was a result of a disagreement over Mr. Forchion's romantic relationship with Janice Bailey. In reality LINDA was nothing more than a scorned women using the bigotry and biasness of the Courts to keep his daughter from him. Linda constantly argued to the Family court that a man with these idea’s and thoughts and religion shouldn’t be allowed near her daughter. Linda claimed she had become a born again Christian and didn’t want this “heathen” to be around her daughter. The bigots on the bench agreed and prevented him from seeing his daughter because of his “Political expressions”. What-ever happened to the First amendment.
In Dec., 2000 Mr. Forchion went to prison for one and one half years under a considerably reduced sentence from the 1997 charges. Released in April of 2002 he immediately sought access to his daughter. Ajanea's mother used the publicity surrounding the jury nullification proceedings to convince the Family Law judge that still only supervised visitation should be granted between Mr. Forchion and his daughter. Forchion was ordered not to talk to his daughter about “drugs” and his daughters name was changed from his last name to that of Linda because Linda claimed that his last name FORCHION had become synonymous with “marijuana”.
Mr. Forchion legally protested this ruling on the Burlington County court house steps and began making first amendment videos in the name of reforming both marijuana and family laws, that garnered more media attention. Nothing about the videos were illegal. Yet, his parole officer took issue with these actions and, although Mr. Forchion had complied with all the exhaustively comprehensive terms of his tightly-supervised release including drug testing, said parole officer Tim Bartlett remanded Ed back into jail due to Ed's "advocacy of marijuana legalization," Bartlett called it “advocating criminal activity”.
Mr. Forchion was again jailed in August, 2002, and from there pro se, he filed a Writ of Habeus Corpus with the U.S. District Court of the New Jersey. Forchion asked help from the NAACP, NORML and the ACLU only the ACLU helped. The Federal Court upheld his “Writ of Habeas Corpus” on the grounds of First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and he was released by federal mandate in January 24th, 2003.
Whereupon he once again immediately sought visitation of his daughter. Once again due to the even heightened publicity surrounding his release and open advocation of Legalization, he was again denied visitation. Somehow even though the federal courts have said Mr. Forchion had the right to talk about marijuana, the New Jersey family courts refused to allow him a relationship with his daughter because of it.
Mr. Forchion again ran for public offices including Governor of New Jersey, Congress and U.S. Senate garnering thousands of votes in each attempt. He wasn’t doing it because he actually thought he’d win he did it as a protest of the marijuana laws and his personal denial of his right to see his own daughter; because of his political views on marijuana. He openly said he was running to “..give the finger to the demo-publican party”. He became nationally known as a outspoken proponent for reforming the marijuana laws. His legal battles attracted wide media and public attention, his alter-ego NJweedman emerged as a front-runner in the awakening of awareness of the spiritual/medicinal uses of marijuana, and reform of parenting laws regarding lifestyle choices. Yet, his advocacy for the reform of marijuana laws played against him at every turn in family court -- he has not even seen his now thirteen year old daughter for nearly four years simply for advocating “LEGALIZATION”. His requests for help from NORML, the ACLU and the NAACP all fell on deaf ears.
In 2007 Janice and Ed divorced amicably he even has total visitation with his children with her and supports them like he is still married. In 2007 he fled the Burlington County NJ family court(s) arrest warrants for him, to pot friendly California in a self imposed exile.
has since opened a marijuana ministry/dispensary on Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. He says, I intend to
return to New Jersey in the event of its marijuana reformation.
Now in February 2009, the New Jersey State Senate voted in favor of such a
reformation, soon the Governor is expected to sign the bill paving the
way for medical marijuana's use in New Jersey. Mr. Forchion say’s intent is to pursue normalcy in
the form of a peaceful lifestyle in his birth state of New Jersey and a
relationship with his daugher Ajanea and is closely monitoring the current
situation. In other words NJWEEDMAN is coming back. He say’s he will open a Rastafarian ministry in
Camden NEW JERSEY where he will dispense marijuana to sick congregates
and non-christians who use it spiritually
Now in February 2009, the New Jersey State Senate voted in favor of such a reformation, soon the Governor is expected to sign the bill paving the way for medical marijuana's use in New Jersey. Mr. Forchion say’s intent is to pursue normalcy in the form of a peaceful lifestyle in his birth state of New Jersey and a relationship with his daugher Ajanea and is closely monitoring the current situation. In other words NJWEEDMAN is coming back. He say’s he will open a Rastafarian ministry in Camden NEW JERSEY where he will dispense marijuana to sick congregates and non-christians who use it spiritually as well.
US - HUMAN RIGHTS VICTIM (NJweedman) from Edward Forchion on Vimeo.