HISTORIC RELIGIOUS RIGHTS/MARIJUANA CASE?
MONTHLY DEMONSTRATION OF MARIJUANA'S LEGALITY
ON FEDERAL PROPERTY
Every 3rd Saturday "NJWEEDMAN" and PAT DUFF" will demonstrate
the legality of using marijuana
on Federal grounds at the
There are many people out there now in this post-911era who claim to be “FREEDOM FIGHTERS” but none fight for freedom more than the:
PRESS RELEASE AND STATEMENT OF INTENTION FOR:
WILLIAM PENN --- EDWARD
Religious use of Marijuana at the
In 1993 the U.S.
Congress passed the (42 U.S.C. § 2000bb(a))
Religious Freedom and Restoration Act which allows for the religious
use of marijuana on federal grounds; during the course of a religious
They have now decided to turn Independence Park into Philly Peace Park. Come join these two FREEDOM FIGHTERS in a “joint” demonstration and act of civil dis-obedience. Make a statement to end tvhe “WAR on DRUGS”. Every 3rd Saturday of each month!
UPDATE - A COURT
DATE HAS BEEN SET FOR
JUDGE ARNOLD C. RAPPORT Courtroom 5C, fifth
Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia,
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
DOWNLOAD AND PASS OUT THESE FLYER'!
of Religion means all Religions"; that would include me and my faith.
Unfortunately especially in
our "GOD" has no color, yet it is human to see everything through your
own spectacles, and since the white people have seen their "GOD"
through white spectacles, we only now have started our (late through it
maybe) to see our "GOD" thought our own spectacles. The "GOD" of ISSAAC
and the "GOD" of Jacob let HIM exist for the race that believes in the
"GOD" of ISAAC and the "GOD" of Ethiopia, the everlasting "GOD" - GOD
the father, God the Son and GOD the HOLY GHOST the ONE GOD of all ages.
That is the "GOD" in whom we believe, but we shall worship HIM through
the spectacles of
‘Rastafarians hit it big in pot fight’
BY DAVID KIEFER
It's illegal to smoke ganja in
we hold the first of our "It's legal at the bell" demonstration.
Marijuana activist uses act of defiance to launch campaign
probation, Ed Forchion of Browns Mills announced a bid for the U.S.
House, then lit up.
SEE VIDEO’s of
"NJweedman" gives the cops the finger and gets searched while Pat doesn't.
READ MORE HERE: SMOKE-OUT
NO VIDEO AVAILABLE
There is no VIDEO of this protest.
But here is video of Pat explaining our demonstrations.
"NJweedman gets searched again, while Pat doesn't. Is this an example of racism?
This month was the best protest yet, take a look at this: MARCH/DEMONSTRATION
finally the cops search both "Pat and NJweedman
Most successful demonstration yet!! No-one was ticketed, we "prayed", smoked and had a picnic.
FINALLY WE HAVE A COURT DATE!
RAINED OUT AUGUST
RAINED OUT SEPTEMBER
After Court we will again hold a peaceful ceremony where we will pray for peace and an end to the drug war.
Please read about this date here:
Will he be jailed?
Due to the conditions of "probation"
NJWEEDMAN will not enter the park. He hopes others will continue to
show up at
UNTIL THIS CONVICTION IS OVERTURNED
I will stand across the street from the Park
on the steps of KYW, TV-3, and WYSP FM-94.1
with a sign:
SEE VIDEO OF: DEC. 18th, 2004 here!
2005/Happy New Year
It is hoped that "spiritual potheads" will
once again show up and "pray" for the end of the Governments religious
persecution of us thru the "DRUG LAWS" and to speak-out against the War
It may be real cold outside but the Governments treatment of us is "COLD", please show up and speak out against the Government persecution of "SPIRITUAL HERB USERS" and the War in Iraq. (SEE FEB05)
SPECIAL EVENT :
On this most high of "POTHEAD HOLIDAYS" it is hoped by NJWEEDMAN that spiritual potheads from all over the world will converge on "independence mall" in Philadelphia and "pray" for the end of the Government persecution of herb users. If he's not in jail, NJWEEDMAN still will not be able to enter the park but will stand just outside of the parks jurisdiction on the corner of 5th and market. CBS-TV3 and radio station kyw1060am and 94.1 fm are located in this building maybe they will cover the event! At 430pm NJWEEDMAN will address the crowd, give a speech and hold a press conference explaining the plight of the "herb users" in America due to Government persecution! (SEE 42005)
WEEDMAN and DUFF appear before Judge
Rapoport. Judge Rapoport actually compliments NJWEEDMAN by telling him
he missed his calling: “you should have been a lawyer”.
(READ TRANSCRIPT OF SEPT 29th, 2004 here)
SUMMARY of COURT HEARING
On September 29th, 2004 Judge Rapoport
ordered the Federal Government to file a written brief in opposition to
the brief filed above by Ed Forchion on behalf of himself and Patrick
Duff. The Judge then gave the Federal Government 10 days to respond and
Njweedman 10 days after that to reply to the Gov't
brief! The Judge said he will return a
Finally, (late) on
The Government agrees with NJWEEDMAN and say’s:
“In limited circumstances, the RFRA creates an affirmative defense in a criminal prosecution”.
We will appeal all the way to
NJWEEDMAN & DUFF
Two marijuana proponents convicted of possession
Two proponents of legalizing marijuana were convicted yesterday of misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana during three protests at Independence National Historical Park after a federal judge rejected their claim that smoking was constitutionally protected because they are Rastafarians.
Edward Forchion, 40, a perennial political candidate from Browns Mills in Burlington County who goes by the name "NJ Weedman," and Patrick L. Duff, 27, of Philadelphia, were convicted for their actions during demonstrations near the Liberty Bell on Dec. 20, March 20 and April 17.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Arnold C. Rapoport set sentencing for tomorrow, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin R. Hayes said each man faces a year's probation, with Forchion also facing a $750 fine and Duff a $500 fine. Rapoport rejected their claim that the U.S. Religious Freedom Restoration Act exempted them from marijuana laws because marijuana is considered a sacrament in the Caribbean religion of Rastafarianism.
By, Joseph A. Slobodzian Staff writer
NJWEEDMAN & DUFF
For marijuana proponent, testing worse than jail
By Inquirer staff writer Joseph A.
Forchion - the
U.S. Magistrate Judge Arnold C. Rapoport
agreed with National Park Service rangers and the prosecutor - smoking
pot in the park violated
For the defendants, what was worse than losing what even Rapoport called a "unique case, to say the least, with some substantial issues," was random drug testing, the one mandatory term for all federal probationers.
To obtain a base-level reading, the judge said, both men had to say when they last used marijuana before their first urine test.
It was then about
"At 10 minutes after one today," Forchion
said, "I pulled into the parking lot; I ingested the sacrament and
prayed that you would not impose drug testing, which for me is a prison
Forchion, Duff and pro bono attorney Michael Coard said they would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, if needed, to seek the same protection Catholics got for Communion wine during Prohibition and some Native American groups got for peyote.
Rapoport, however, said the videotapes Forchion and Duff made of their three arrests at Independence Mall undercut their own defense: "On its face, it's clearly a demonstration; the fact that you prayed... doesn't make this a religious service."
In one incident, Forchion and Duff prayed for prisoners serving time for violating marijuana laws. Duff then intoned, "It's time to practice our religion," and they lit a marijuana cigarette and began smoking before park rangers moved in.
Forchion, of Browns Mills, a courier and former trucker, has been an outspoken advocate of legalizing marijuana for about 10 years and a perennial political candidate.
Yesterday, his misfortunes kept
compounding. After he admitted smoking marijuana before the sentencing,
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin R. Hayes reminded him he had better
find another way home.
In my opinion this case wasn't decided on the merits of the law, but on political correctness. The Judge in this case claimed the RFRA wasn't a nation-wide law. That is aburd! I'm going to appeal and I have very little doubt that this conviction will be overturned. It’s based on a totally wrong legal conclusion. I demand a new trial.
NOV. 12th, 2004
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND NOW, this 12th day of November, 2004, the defendant having been found guilty of the following five offenses:
with agency functions, 36 C.F.R. § 2.32(a)(1), Violation No.
Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3563, the Court imposes the following mandatory conditions:
defendant shall not commit another Federal, State, or local crime
during the term of probation;
The offenses of conviction include three instances of possession of a
controlled substance within a national park, one instance of
interfering with agency functions stemming from the defendant's refusal
to obey an order to surrender evidence and his destruction of the
evidence, and one instance of disorderly conduct involving significant
disruption of visitor activities within Independence National
ARNOLD C. RAPOPORT
NJWEEDMAN VOWS TO FIGHT ALL
THE WAY TO THE SUPREME COURT!!!
READ COURT DOCUMENTS BELOW
or you can go to the Government(s) Pacer system and follow for yourself.
NJWEEDMAN WRITES JUDGE A LETTER OF:
TO ENJOIN CASES
US SUPREME COURT 'UPHOLDS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM'
NJWEEDMAN say's; "this U.S. Supreme Court ruling greatly increases my ulitimate chance of victory on the basis of the defense's provided by the RFRA. This blows Judge Rapoports "claim" that the RFRA didn't apply to the 3rd Circuit out of the water. - To bad the press won't write about it."
JUDGE DALZELL, PLEASE
The defendant(s) in this case
clearly are being denied numerous basic constitutional protections by
the “magistrate Judge” in this matter. It is a matter of "public
interest" to correct this “judicial persecution” other-wise there is no
need for this country to criticize the Chinese for their treatment of
the Faluan Gong, the Saudi’s for their treatment of Christians or
expect the Sunni’s in
"MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION"
Judge Dalzell to reconsider his denial of stay, orders Government to file a written brief in response to “motion for stay”.
(READ HERE )
JUDGE DAZELL’S ORDER
1. Defendant’s motion for reconsideration is GRANTED;
– Our order of
3. By December 29, 2004, the Government shall RESPOND to defendant’s motion for stay of illegal sentence (docket entry #2) and the memorandum that he submitted to supplement that motion (docket entry#5);
4. Defendants motion for free transcripts and tape of proceedings is GRANTED IN PART;
5. The Clerk shall PROVIDE Forchion with a transcript of all proceedings before Judge Rapoport;
TO RESPOND TO THE MOTION BELOW:
Browns Mills, N.J. 08015
U.S. District Court
21400 U.S. Courthouse
600 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pa 19101
Edward Forchion : MOTION(s)
(Defendant) : “stay of illegal sentence – pending appeal”
: Preliminary Injunction
Vs. : “emergent evidentiary hearing”
Honorable District Court Judge,
I Edward Forchion the defendant in this case requests that the district court allow this defendant to proceed Propria Personia. I am untrained in the legal procedures and legalese required in Federal Court as such please accept this letter brief in lieu of a formal legal brief.
I Edward Forchion the defendant in the captioned case first motions the U.S. District Court for a emergent evidentiary hearing, a “Stay of Sentence pending appeal”; and a “Preliminary Injunction” to the illegal sentence handed down by Federal Magistrate Judge Arnold Rapoport on Nov. 12th, 2004 who “falsely/inaccurately” claimed the Freedom of Religion and Restoration Act (42 U.S.C. §2000bb(a)) does not apply to the 3rd circuit while it factually was passed as a nation-wide law in 1993. True, in 1997 the RFRA was limited by the decision in City of Boerne v. Flores, 117 S.Ct. 2157, 138 L.Ed.2d 624 (1997) to federal Jurisdictions, in 2002 this was again up held People of Guam v. Guerrero, 290 F.3d 1210 (9th Cir. 2002) which held that the RFRA was valid in Federal Jurisdictions only. In addition to that this sentence ignores the basic Constitutional protections of the 1st Amendment.
SUMMARY OF CASE
The U.S. Constitution’s 1st amendment was ratified on 12/15/1791. The first Amendment gives citizens the right to choose their faiths. I (Edward Forchion) was born July 23rd, 1964 to African-American parents who were practicing Christians (baptist). At age 12 I rejected Christianity as the religion of our former enslaver’s and forced onto our people thru the 350+ year “Christian condoned” institution of slavery. At 12 I veiwed myself as “free” and sought a religion more appropriate for a “free american” I choose Islam. My thinking at the time was if I’m not a slave why must I continue to practice the Religion of our slavers. Around 18 years of age I rejected Islam and became a out-spoken Athesis. Which I remained until age 30 when I had a profound religious experience while contimplating suicide in Tucson Arizona in 1994. This experience guided me to accept the faith of RASTAFARI to which I still remain. I have been a very vocal proponent of my faith and publicly prosletize my beliefs and practices ever since. This public avocation of my faith has led government authorities as well as private christian citizens to persecute me for my choose in religions.
In 1996 I read about the case of DAWN MEEKS (United States v. Bauer, Meeks, 84 F.3d 1549 (9th Cir. 1996)) a practicing RASTAFARIAN imprisoned for her faith. Because of this case I became aware of the 1993 Freedom of Religion and Restoration Act (42 U.S.C. §2000bb(a)) and the People of Guam v. Guerrero.
In 2000 I myself was imprisoned similarly to MEEKS in the State of New Jersey. On April 3rd, 2002 I was released from state prison into the State of New Jersey’s Intensive Supervision Program. ISP attempted to force me into NA/AA (I successfully fought the ISP requirement of N/A and A/A meetings by citing: Kerr Vs Farrey, 95 F.3d 472, and Warner Vs Orange County Dept. of Probation, 115 F.3d 1068.) On May 28th, 2002 I read about the victory of GUERRERO in People of Guam v. Guerrero, 290 F.3d 1210 (9th Cir. 2002); which ruled the RFRA allowed for the religious use of marijuana on federal lands. I was arrested by State authorities (June 6-10th, 2002) and held for 5 days for publicly talking about my beliefs and released when I “feinted” I would not talk about my faith again.
When I re-nigged on this promise and did once again voiced my beliefs on August 19th , 2002 I was imprisoned; for prosletizing about my faith, beliefs and practices but this time the State intended to send me to prison for 10 years. On Oct. 9th, 2002 from the Burlington County Jail I filed a “Writ of Habeas Corpus” in Federal Court alledging that State of New Jersey officials had imprisoned me illegally for exercising my 1st Amendment rights. On Jan 24th, 2003 Federal Judge Irenas (District Court of New Jersey (camden)) agreed with me and ordered that I be released for jail and returned to the ISP citing I was imprisoned for exercising 1st Amendment rights FORCHION v ISP,STATE OF NEW JERSEY, 240 F.Supp.2d 302.
On Dec. 3rd, 2003 I was released for ISP and celebrated by having a private religious ceremony at the Liberty Bell and announced a I would have a public demonstration of the legal “religious use” of marijuana on federal property every 3rd Saturday of each month at the liberty bell. The first of these public ceromonies was held on Dec., 20th, 2003 for which I was arrested. Privately, I pray on Fort Dix military reservation almost daily. I live within a couple hundred yards of Ft Dix.
On Dec. 20th, 2003 I was arrested for engaging in what I truly believe is legal per the RFRA and once again on March 20th, 2004 and April 17th, 2004. I was arrested along with co-defendant Pat Duff.
On December 20, 2003, defendant Forchion was issued Violation No. P028826 and defendant Duff was issued Violation No. P257101, both for possession of a controlled substance within a national park in violation of 36 C.F.R. §2.35(b)(2). – The actions were video taped by defendants.
On April 17, 2004, I was issued Violation No. P257037. Duff was issued Violation No. P256628 for interfering with agency functions. In addition, I was issued Violation No. P257038 for disorderly conduct in violation of 36 C.F.R. § 2.34(a)(2) - The actions were video taped by the defendants.
On September 28, 2004, hearings were scheduled before the magistrate Court on the violation notices issued on December 20, 2003 and March 20 and April 17, 2004 in connection with my public ceromonies (ingesting marijuana) in Independence National Historical Park. I submitted a Pro Se brief, to the Court and the government a pleading denominated as “Motion: To Dismiss ‘Affirmative Defense’ of Religious Freedom (42 U.S.C. §2004bb(a)).” The Court directed the government to submit a written response to this pleading.
On Nov. 10th, 2004 the defendants submitted two videos of the incidences in question and the federal government did submit a brief and in it’s brief say’s:
In limited circumstances, the RFRA creates an affirmative defense in a criminal prosecution(*1). To state a prima facie free exercise claim, a defendant must establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, three threshold requirements: “The governmental action must (1) substantially burden, (2) a religious belief rather than a philosophy or way of life, (3) which belief is sincerely held by the defendant.” United States v. Meyers, 95 F.3d 1475, 1482 (10th Cir. 1996)(citations omitted). Only if the defendant establishes these threshold requirements does the burden shift to the government to demonstrate that the challenged regulation furthers a compelling state interest in the least restrictive manner. Id.
A substantial burden “is one that forces adherents of a religion to refrain from religiously motivated conduct, inhibits, or constrains conduct or expression that manifests a central tenet of a person’s religious beliefs, or compels conduct or expression that is contrary to those beliefs.” Mack v. O’Leary, 80 F.3d 1175, 1179 (7th Cir. 1996).
Judge Rapoport failed to view the entire video tapes which clearly showed at 420 pm we engaged in a Religious ceremony. Despite the defense clearly meeting the burden the magistrate court Judge denied the “MOTION TO DISSMISS” by falsely and knowingly claiming “the 1993 Freedom of Religion and Restoration Act (42 U.S.C. §2000bb(a)) doesn’t apply to the 3rd district” when we all know it was enacted as a nation-wide law and has never been repealed by congress!!! The defense asserts the Judge made numerous other legal errors and made it clear on the record that this “denial” would be appealed based on the Judge’s legal “ERRORS” and misapprehend(s) the law. Clearly Judge Rapoport fails to comprehend the rulings and interpretations in (United States v. Bauer, 84 F.3d 1549 (9th Cir. 1996)), City of Boerne v. Flores, 117 S.Ct. 2157, 138 L.Ed.2d 624 (1997) and People of Guam v. Guerrero, 290 F.3d 1210 (9th Cir. 2002) or O Centro Espirita v. Ashcroft, 314 F.3d 463, 467 ).
The defense requested a “stay of sentence pending appeal” from the trial court Judge, Judge Rapoport also denied that request, and now the defendant(s) in this action motion to the District Court to “stay the sentence pending a legal appeal”. Clearly the defendants were acting under the true and legal belief that their actions were and are legal.
A - VIOLATION OF THE ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE
The sentence handed down on Nov. 12th, 2004 is unconstitutional, malious, deliberate and a blatant violation of my 1st Amendment Rights to “Political Expression”, “Freedom of Speech and Religion” specifically. The magistrate Judge, Judge Rapoport is attempting to prohibit the practice or avocation of my religion (*RASTAFARI) because it doesn’t conform to the standards of (his) the Government religion: CHRISTIANITY but more insidious is his order of drug counseling which in effect is and attempt to brain-wash me into changing my “religious beliefs” with Government propaganda. This has happened to me on numerous occasions in the State of New Jersey as I relate in the above summary. This sentence isn’t designed to protect the public or enforce law it is designed to prevent the practice of my faith. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals has used this definition of RASTAFARI in STEELE Vs BLACKMAN, 236 F.3d (3rd Cir.) 2000:
“ARGUMENT AGAINST - DRUG COUNSELING/TESTING”
N/A- Narcotics Anonymous or its sister program Alcoholics Anonymous are at the forefront of 90-95 percent of all alcohol and drug addiction treatment in this country thus for the sake of the INSTANT CASE I will refer to drug counseling as NA/AA. Our court system routinely orders “drug violators” and “DUI offenders” into NA/AA, violating the establishment clause of the Constitution on separation of church and state. NA/AA has become the de facto state religion. Many insist NA/AA is not religious. A cursory reading of the NA/AA Big Book or its 12 step guidelines should dispel this notion. It is clear that NA/AA promotes a “higher being” which is a “religious concept” whether NA-AA actually calls this higher being, GOD, JAH or JAHWEH makes no difference the concept of a high being is “GOD like”.
Two federal courts and several state supreme courts have held that NA/AA is a religious organization and that no one may, therefore, be compelled by the GOVERNMENT to participate. Kerr Vs Farrey, 95 F.3d 472 and Warner Vs Orange County Dept. of Probation, 115 F.3d 1068.
In the INSTANT CASE before this court whether the Government uses NA/AA or some form of “religion-less” anti-drug propaganda program. The mere court ordering of these defendants into a “drug program” which attempts to “brain-wash” them into changing there religious belief (that the substance marijuana is not good as their faith teaches them), to the Governments (Christian) irrational belief/position that marijuana is dangerous, addictive and should not be used for anything violates the establishment clause of the Constitution on separation of church and state. Marijuana is the sacrament of these defendants faith like wine is to Christians or Peyote is to Native Americans or hoascais to members of the Uniao do Vegetal church (O Centro Espirita v. Ashcroft, 314 F.3d 463, 467 ). Equally drug testing, violates church and state for it’s sole purpose in this case is to determine if the defendant has continued his “religious practices and beliefs”.
MOTION FOR STAY OF ILLEGAL SENTENCE
Specifically these conditions of probation are constitutionally volatile:
1) – (condition #7) The defendant shall refrain from excessive use of alcohol and shall not purchase, possess, use, distribute, or administer any controlled substance or any paraphernalia related to any controlled substance, except as prescribed by a physician;
2) – (condition #8) The defendant shall not frequent places where controlled substances are illegally sold, used, distributed, or administered;
3) – (condition #9) The defendant shall not associate with any persons engaged in criminal activity, and shall not associate with any person convicted of a felony unless granted permission to do so by the probation officer;
4) – (condition #10) The defendant shall permit a probation officer to visit him or her at any time at home or elsewhere and shall permit confiscation of any contraband observed in plain view by the probation officer;
5) – (special condition #3) The defendant shall participate in a drug aftercare treatment program which may include urine testing at the direction and discretion of the probation officer.
6) – (special condition # 4) The defendant shall not participate and/or attend any marijuana related events/functions and shall refrain from entering the Independent National Park.
The reason(s) these conditions are “constitutionally” volatile are as follows:
1) – (condition #7) The “herb” marijuana is the sacrament of my faith and I’ve provided testimony to the Court of my use of this sacrament “religiously” every Saturday. The “magistrate Judge” rejected this without obtaining expert testimony or seeing this thru the eyes of a neutral party.
2) – (condition #8) A couple of times a month I attend RASTAFARIAN religious services and this “condition” is specifically designed to prevent me from associating with members of my faith or engaging in activities associated with my faith. The “HERB” marijuana is used at all RASTAFARIAN ceromonies.
3) - (condition #9) As above, this condition is designed to prevent me from associating with members of my faith or attending RASTAFARIAN religious services. Due to the RELIGIOUSLY intolerant “marijuana laws” many members of my faith have been convicted of “marijuana crimes”. My “RAS” (religious cleric) has spent time in prison for his use of marijuana as have I.
4) – (condition #10) This condition will subject me to hand over “RELIGIOUS ITEMS” to the “GOVERNMENT” (probation officer), such as my CHALISS. This Challis is used during Religious ceromonies to consume the herb “marijuana” is a similar way Catholics use devices to consume the fruit grape (wine) during Christian services. I operate a house of worship out of the garage in my house and have for years this condition subjects me to a probation violation just for practicing my faith.
5) (special condition #3) – This is the most offensive of the conditions and is a special condition designed to “prevent” me from utilizing the sacrament of my faith with the threat of arrest if thru “urine testing” it is discovered that I’m continuing to exercise my religious freedom by using the sacrament of my faith: “marijuana”. This condition is a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution and is further religiously intolerant for it treats my faith like a “DRUG ADDICTION”. I have no drug addiction I have a faith. No amount of Government brainwashing or propaganda will make me change my faith. These so called treatment programs are really programs espousing “Christian beliefs” and I’m not a Christian and refuse to attend or listen to this non-sense that marijuana is anything other than what my faith teaches me that it is “GOOD”. This condition is Religiously intolerant and I know for a fact there are court decisions that prevent the Government from force’s me to attend programs designed to “change my belief’s” or accept “GOD” in a Christian way.
6) (special condition # 4) – This condition again would prevent me from attending the religious services of my faith or participating in “political” events that call for the end of the “war on marijuana” which makes my faith a illegal religion in the USA. In the past I’ve had illegal order’s such as this inflicted on me. In 2002 I was ordered by State Officials not to talk about marijuana, talk to the press or associate with other persons who advocate legalization. I refused to comply and was jailed upon which I filed a “WRIT of HABEAS CORPUS” and after 5 months was ordered released by Federal Judge Irenas who cited:
The First Amendment exists so as to promote debate on issues of public importance. In this case, the advocacy of the legalization of marijuana is a legitimate political position in this country. The Libertarian Party, whose presidential candidate received over 380,000 votes in the 2000 election, advocates the legalization of drugs. Libertarian Party website at http://www.lp.org/issues/relegalize.html and http://www.lp.org/campaigns/pres/. Many elected public officials have called for a liberalization of the nation's drug laws. Simply put, Plaintiff's place in this debate will do nothing to harm a public that is already itself debating the current state of our nation's drug laws.
FORCHION vs ISP,STATE OF NEW JERSEY, 240 F.Supp.2d 302.
What kind of message does this order send? That Independence Park is only open to “CHRISTIANS”. I have tape of Christians having weddings (religious ceremony) in the park where “wine” is consumed without the Government attacking them as is the case every time I attempt to have a religious ceremony.
MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
A district court should grant preliminary injunctive relief only if: (1) the defendant is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) denial will result in irreparable harm to the defendant; (3) granting the injunction will not result in irreparable harm to the plaintiff; and (4) granting the injunction is in the public interest. Maldonado v. Houstoun, 157 F.3d 179, 184 (3d Cir. 1998). In light of the fundamental constitutional issue(s) raised by the defendant, the availability of preliminary injunctive relief will turn primarily on whether defendant has sufficiently demonstrated a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits with respect to his constitutional claim(s).
MOTION FOR EMERGENT EVIDENTIARY HEARING
It is clear that substantial CONSTITUTIONAL violations have occurred in this case specifically in regard to this sentence and in the interest of the public and constitutional law the court should hold a immediate evidentiary hearing to determine the valid “constitutional issue’s” raised by this defendant. Without such a hearing it is clear that the court(s) objective of either jailing the defendant for exercising his religious beliefs or stopping his religious practices with prevail.
ANALYSIS OF THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM and RESTORATION ACT
The First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”, “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”
In Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872, 110 S.Ct. 1595, 108 L.Ed.2d 876 (1990), Smith, a member of the Native American Church, ingested peyote for sacramental purposes at a church ceremony. This led Smith’s employer to fire him. The state denied his application for unemployment benefits because a state statute disqualified individuals who had been fired for work-related “misconduct.” Id. at 874.Smith sued, arguing that the denial of unemployment benefits burdened his First Amendment right to exercise his religion freely. The Supreme Court allowed Oregon to enforce the anti-drug law against Smith. Id. at 884-85.
This outraged many members of Congress who then drafted the RFRA in direct response to Employment Division v. Smith, To much fan-fare and public support Congress enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (“RFRA”) (42 U.S.C. §2000bb(a)) as a nation-wide federal law. On Nov. 16t, 1993 President Bill Clinton signed the RFRA into law with these comments: "The free exercise of religion has been called the first freedom, that which originally sparked the development of the full range of the Bill of Rights. Our Founders cared a lot about religion. And one of the reasons they worked so hard to get the first amendment into the Bill of Rights at the head of the class is that they well understood what could happen to this country, how both religion and Government could be perverted if there were not some space created and some protection provided. They knew that religion helps to give our people the character without which a democracy cannot survive. They knew that there needed to be a space of freedom between Government and people of faith that otherwise Government might usurp." Bill Clinton.
In UNITED STATES Vs BAUER, 84 F.3d 1549, 1556 (9th Cir.1996, the defendants, practicing Rastafarians, challenged their 1994 convictions for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and distribution of marijuana, along with simple possession of marijuana on the grounds that the convictions violated the RFRA. The Ninth Circuit reversed the convictions for simple possession and held that the prosecution had the obligation to show that universal enforcement of the marijuana laws was the least restrictive means of preventing the sale and distribution of marijuana.* Id. at 1559. The Court explained that in enacting the RFRA, Congress found “the framers of the Constitution, recognizing free exercise of religion as an unalienable right, secured its protection in the First Amendment to the Constitution.” Id. at 1557. As explained, Congress was critical of Employment Division and enacted the RFRA. Id.
The U.S. Supreme Court in City of Boerne v. P.F. Flores, 521 U.S. 507, 532, 138 L.Ed.2d 624, 117 S.Ct. 2157 (1997) declared RFRA unconstitutional as applied to the States but in no-way did the Supreme Court rule the RFRA was totally unconstitutional, and Congress never repealed it. If congress had intended to repeal it would have instead congress allowed the RFRA to remain in good standing.
Thus in in People of Guam v. Guerrero, 290 F.3d 1210 (9th Cir. 2002) (decided on May 28, 2002), the Ninth Circuit ruled that the RFRA forbids prosecuting Rastafarians for using marijuana within the federal realm, such as a United States territory or a national park (like Philadelphia’s Independence Park), thus upholding a portion of the RFRA. In Guerrero, the defendant, a Rastafarian arrested at the Guam airport with five ounces of marijuana and 10 ounces of seeds, was charged with importing the drugs from Hawaii. The Court ruled that a Rastafarian whose Jamaica-based religion regards marijuana as a sacrament that brings believers closer to divinity could not be prosecuted for merely possessing marijuana in the “federal realms.”
This distinction in Guerrero does not make sense since it is the equivalent to saying that, while wine is a necessary sacrament for some Christians, the persons administering the sacrament would have to grow their own grapes. If a Rastafarian is permitted to smoke ganja on federal grounds as a constitutionally protected behavior, it is illogical to prosecute the person who provides the ganja.
The RFRA protects the religious use of marijuana by practicing Rastafarians, just as the 1919 Volstead Act (Prohibition Act) protected the religious use of alcohol in the Catholic Church during the prohibition of Alcohol by providing a “religious defense”. As Rastafarianism regards marijuana as a sacrament necessary to the practice of the religion, issuance of summons are thus unconstitutional and should have been dis-missed by the magistrate Judge.
ANALYSIS OF RELEVENT/SIMILAR CASE
(O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal Vs United States)
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently ruled federal drug laws do not apply to a particular church under the provisions of the RFRA.
John Ashcroft, Attorney General of the United States, et al., appeal an order in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico preliminarily enjoining the government from prohibiting or penalizing the sacramental use of hoasca, a substance containing dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a drug listed in Section I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. §§ 801-904, by O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, a small religious organization. We affirm.
Uniao do Vegetal, President of the Uniao do Vegetal's United States chapter Jeffrey Bronfman, and several other church members (collectively, UDV) filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and a Motion for Preliminary Injunction against the United States Attorney General, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the United States Customs Service, and the Department of the Treasury (collectively, Government), alleging violation of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments, Equal Protection principles, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), international laws and treaties, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1. UDV sought declaratory and preliminary injunctive relief against the Government's penalty or prohibition of the church's importation, possession, and use of hoasca and against any attempt to seize the drug or prosecute Uniao do Vegetal members.
After a two-week hearing, on August 12, 2002, the district court granted UDV's motion for a preliminary injunction in a unpublished Memorandum Opinion and Order.(*) The court rejected UDV's arguments that hoasca is not covered under the CSA and prohibiting the importation, possession, and use of the drug violates the Constitution and international law. However, the court held UDV had advanced a successful RFRA claim.
For purposes of the preliminary injunction, the Government did not dispute UDV had established a prima facie case under RFRA a substantial burden imposed by the federal government on a sincere exercise of religion. See Kikumura v. Hurley, 242 F.3d 950, 960 (10th Cir. 2001).(2) The burden therefore shifted to the Government to show "the challenged regulation furthers a compelling interest in the least restrictive manner." See 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1(b); United States v. Meyers, 95 F.3d 1475, 1482 (10th Cir. 1996). The Government asserted three compelling interests in prohibiting hoasca: protection of the health and safety of Uniao do Vegetal members; potential for diversion from the church to recreational users; and compliance with the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances (Convention). Convention on Psychotropic Substances, opened for signature Feb. 21, 1971, 1019 U.N.T.S. 175 (ratified by the United States in 1980) [hereinafter Convention].
The district court required the Government to prove sacramental hoasca consumption poses a serious health risk to Uniao do Vegetal members and, if sanctioned, would lead to significant diversion to non-religious use. Finding evidence on the health risks to UDV members "in equipoise," evidence on risk of diversion "virtually balanced," and hoasca not covered by the Convention, the court held the Government failed to meet its "onerous burden" under RFRA. Because it found no compelling government interests, the court did not conduct a least restrictive means analysis.
The district court concluded UDV demonstrated "substantial likelihood of success on the merits" and satisfied the other three requirements for preliminary injunction. First, on irreparable injury, the court noted, "Tenth Circuit law indicates that the violations of religious exercise rights protected under the RFRA represent irreparable injuries." Second, on balance of harms, the court held, "in light of the closeness of the parties' evidence regarding the safety of hoasca use and its potential for diversion, the scale tips in the Plaintiffs' favor." Finally, the court reasoned failure to vindicate religious freedom protected under RFRA a statute specifically enacted by Congress, as representative of the public, to countermand a Supreme Court ruling would be adverse to the public interest.
In an order dated November 12, 2002, the court delineated a remedy, preliminarily enjoining the Government from prohibiting or penalizing sacramental hoasca use by Uniao do Vegetal members. The court also required that the church, upon demand by the DEA, identify its members who handle hoasca outside of ceremonies, allow for on-site inspections and inventories, provide samples, identify times and locations of ceremonies, and designate a liaison to the DEA.
The Government moved for an emergency stay of the preliminary injunction pending appeal. On December 12, 2002, we granted the stay, holding UDV failed to demonstrate "clear and equivocal" right to relief. O Centro Espirita v. Ashcroft, 314 F.3d 463, 467 (10th Cir. 2002).
On appeal, UDV urged us to affirm the district court, contending the Government failed to prove hoasca poses health risks to church members, the Convention does not apply to hoasca, and Uniao do Vegetal's consumption of hoasca is comparable to the Native American Church's exempted use of peyote. Calling for a reversal, the Government's appeal focused on the compelling interests asserted and failed.
The use of marijuana in religions predates the Government Religion of Christianity, it is a fact that “marijuana” also known by many names has been religiously accepted by many faiths. Christians just happen not to accept the “good” of marijuana and instead adhere to superstitions that marijuana is the devil’s weed and have made religiously intolerant laws to prevent its use by non-Christians such as the defendant in this case. Regardless based on the reading of the 9th circuit in Guerrero and the 10th circuit in O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal the defendant(s) truely believe the RFRA is a nation-wide law and that our their actions while not condoned by the Government were in fact legal.
The defendant clearly is being denied numerous basic constitutional protections by the “magistrate Judge” in this matter and it is a matter of public interest to correct this “judicial persecution” other-wise there is no need for this country to criticize the Chinese for their treatment of the Faluan Gong, the Saudi’s for their treatment of Christians or expect the Sunni’s in Iraq to respect the Shiites. This sentence and probation condition(s) are nothing more than “persecution” of a citizen for his choose in religions by the Christian majority. This is what the founding fathers of this country were trying to prevent with the 1st Amendment. The defendant in this case begs the court to hear this case immediately but in the mean-time requests that this court issue a stay of sentence until the court can hear the valid legal issue’s raised by this defendant and his co-defendant Pat Duff.
Respectfully submitted by
Edward Forchion – aka- “NJWEEDMAN
CC- Philadelphia Inquirer, courier Post, Burlington County Times, Times of Trenton, Trentonian, and various internet websites and news organizations.
BY JUDGE DALZELLS DEC. 14th, 2004 Order
TO RESPOND TO THIS (above) BY
ONCE AGAIN DOESN'T ADHERE TO COURT
SCHEDULING ! "motions for extension"
GOVERNMENT MOTION FOR EXTENSION
OPPOSITION TO EXTENSION OF TIME
ORDER GRANTING EXTENSION
IN OPPOSITION TO STAY OF ILLEGAL SENTENCE
<>1/10/2005<>Judge Dazell grants "NJWEEDMAN" his motion for a "stay of illegal sentence". Thus now NJWEEDMAN can fight this unjust conviction in the courtroom without the threat of imprisonment. - No drug tests!
A U.S. District Court Judge grants WEEDMAN a stay of sentence. For now.
by Cory Frolik
While he remains mired in legal troubles and no closer to seeing himself in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to argue his " right" to smoke marijuana, things don't look half bad for Ed Forchion. At least he can toke up and test his interpretation of federal laws without the fear of jail time.
Following the Nov. 12 sentencing hearing where he received a year of probation and a $150 fine for drug possession after organizing a series of marijuana smoke-outs at the Liberty Bell, Forchion, aka NJ Weedman, was worried. "Pencil me in jail," he said, predicting he wouldn't have much luck passing court-ordered drug testing [News, "Up in Smoke," Cory Frolik, Nov. 18, 2004].
Forchion's argument was simple. Since he is Rastafarian, smoking marijuana is a religious sacrament. As such, he was protected to do so on federal property thanks to the 1993 Religious Freedom Act. The judge, however, wasn't having it.
Less than two months later, however, Forchion has seemingly caught a break. His motion for a stay of sentence (a plea to the District Court to throw out his punishment while he goes through the appeal process) was granted by U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell earlier this month.
Forchion authored the motion, which cites freedoms provided by the First Amendment, attacks U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Arnold Rapoport (he sentenced Forchion and co-defendant Patrick Duffy), and says he should be exempt from drug testing altogether. In short, the charges and probation conditions represent an unconstitutional religious persecution, maintains Forchion.
"I'm not creating something," explains Forchion. "I'm using what is already there."
In his Jan. 7 order, Dalzell wrote, "because staying Forchion's sentence will not endanger the public or seriously undermine any important public interest, the risk of irreparable injury to Forchion from being subjected to potentially invalid restraints on his liberty requires us to stay his sentence."
For Forchin, this is a massive relief. Though he didn't test positive for marijuana once during his probation, he said there was no way he was going to stop smoking the "sacrament." And because of that, he said he figured he'd ultimately pay for it. The appellate process is an uphill battle as it is, but coordinating it from behind bars would have severely complicated matters.
"It moves my case to court," says Forchion. "I don't fight it from a jail cell."
appeals court is likely to rule within two months. Until then, Forchion
knows what he'll be doing. "Praying RASTA STYLE".
NJWEEDMAN'S FEDERAL APPEAL-BRIEF
of LIBTRATION CONVICTION
This appeal touches on a couple of interesting
DRUG WAR issue's
"Drug Testing, religious Brian-washing"
NJWEEDMAN'S REPLY BRIEF
This is the reply to the U.S. Attorney's brief!
JUDGE DALZELL'S DECISION
(July 22nd, 2005)
JUDGE DALZELL'S DECISION
Although Judge Dalzells order is dated July 22nd, neither defendant was informed of the decision until Feb. 1st, 2006 by way of Judge Rapoports (cowardly decision). I believe we weren't sent the order in a deliberate attempt to keep us from appealing in a timely manner. We plan on appealing both of these (non) decisions, I'm sure the U.S. Attorney will opposed our Nun Pro Tunc motion/appeal. Once again, I smoke marijuana in public and the court chooses not to punish me because of the Religious Defense I mount.
JULY 22nd, 2005
Judge Dalzell, affirms our Nov. 12th, 2004 convictions but vacates the sentences and remands the case back to Judge Rapoport to hear our "constitutional challenge" of the sentences. -- Judge Dalzell on page 9 of this decision say's nothing in our religion specifically calls for us to smoke marijuana at Independence Park so we weren't denied any religious freedom, he goes on to say we could smoke in any number of other locations; i.e. our homes, our houses of worship etc., etc.,. - Judge Dalzell chumped out of making a legal decision and instead made a political decision and then past the ball to Judge Rapoport.
JANUARY 30th, 2006
(CLICK HERE TO READ IT- PDF)
Judge Rapoport, did the most cowardly thing I ever witnessed a Judge doing. Judge Dalzell dumped the case back in his lap in a "chump move". Then he (Rapoport) totally avoided sentencing us at all. He "falsely claims" that we served our probations so there was no need to re-sentence us. So we end up with "CONVICTIONS" but both Judge Dalzell and Judge Rapoport acted as cowards and refused to sentence us.
Philadelphia City Paper
February 9-15, 2006
Two Minutes With...N.J. Weedman
By Brian Hickey
Last week, Ed "N.J. Weedman" Forchion learned that a federal judge vacated his 2004 conviction for toking marijuana during a series of protests near the Liberty Bell. The case had been remanded to Magistrate Judge Arnold C. Rapoport in July 2005 so he could consider the constitutionality of probation conditions that required Forchion—an avowed Rastafarian—to avoid marijuana, places at which it is smoked and people who smoke it, as well as to submit to drug testing and attend counseling. Contending the Jan. 30 order doesn't address those issues, Weedman says he's just begun to fight:
City Paper: Why not just quit while you're ahead?
Weedman: The judge avoided the issues I was trying to raise. We went there because we believe the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to federal property, and I think we're on point with the argument. They're just trying to sweep these legitimate issues under the rug. So, I'm going to appeal. Some people might laugh at that, but [this order] wasn't the purpose of our civil disobedience. What I wanted was a court case where I could air certain issues, like how AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] and NA [Narcotics Anonymous] are, as some courts have already ruled, religious organizations. For people to be ordered to go there [as part of their probation] is a [RFRA] violation.
CP: So, is there any happiness at all?
W: Sure, because I'm not on federal probation now. Maybe I should take it as a victory, but I didn't only want a public airing, I wanted to win.
CP: Why should you be allowed to smoke marijuana at the Liberty Bell?
W: Everybody should be allowed to. If there's one place in America [to exercise your independence], it should be the Liberty Bell. I've gotten e-mails from a lot of people who've clandestinely smoked there, so maybe we're on our way to making it a Peace Pot Park!
CP: Think you'll be out there any time soon?
W: Oh yes. They're not getting out of it that easily. I'll be up there some time in the spring, maybe April 20.