TRENTONIAN: Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion is sparking a new kind of buzz these days, and he’s taking some heat for the way he’s used the likeness of President Obama. Forchion, who at one point or another ran for just about every elected office in New Jersey on a platform of marijuana legalization, is now running a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, and a poster for an upcoming party he’s hosting has gotten him in some hot bong water. Forchion, formerly of Willingboro, is set to host an “Obama One Year in Office Celebration” out in California, and the poster he’s using to promote the event includes a picture of Obama with a large joint hanging out of his mouth. Forchion is also pictured on the graphic, and he’s lighting the president’s joint. MORE
PREVIOUSLY: Last year, the NJ Weedman moved to Los Angeles. Last week, I reached him at the legal medical-marijuana dispensary he runs on Hollywood Boulevard. “In New Jersey, I got hassled, fired from my job, and attacked by police,” Forchion recalled by cell phone. “Out here, nobody bothers me. I’m becoming a celebrity.” Like the rest of Tinseltown, the Weedman wants to be a star. “I’m looking for great revolutionary people,” producer Bobby Razak explained in a break from filming a reality-TV pilot at Forchion’s pot shop. “Someone needs to show viewers what this guy is all about.” [via INQUIRER]
PHILADLEPHIA WEEKLY: Ed Forchion is no saint. If his arrest record were of the musical variety, it would be a double album or a boxed set. And yet in these warped through-the-looking-glass times we live in, where official truth more often than not turns out to be a lie, Ed Forchion, 38, is something of a role model. Forced by circumstance and his own lapse of judgement, this formerly apolitical Rastafarian trucker has become a radicalized constitutional warrior. He has dared to ask out loud, in a court of law no less, the question the estimated 80 million Americans who have tried marijuana have asked themselves in private: Why is it illegal?
With neither the money nor the justice it can buy, he has fought the law–in this case, the law that makes it a crime to pluck the leaves off a certain fragrant weed growing in the earth and smoke them for pleasure or medicinal use–and the law has called it a draw. Forchion did not pick this fight–he’s sort of the stoner analogue of the drunken underclassmen at a frat party who trips and spills his beer down the blouse of the homecoming queen and gets taken outside by the jocks for a good beat-down–but he did not run from it. And before it was over, he had lost pretty much everything he ever had except his phonebook-thick stack of court transcripts, which he pores over like a biblical scholar hunched over the Dead Sea Scrolls.
His name probably doesn’t ring a bell, but you may know him by his nickname: New Jersey Weedman. Or maybe by his antics: smoking a joint at the Liberty Bell, or on the floor of the New Jersey State Assembly or in the offices of Congressman Rob Andrews (D-N.J.). Or his quixotic bids for a congressional seat representing the Legalize Marijuana Party, a party of one–him. Or his well-publicized efforts to legally make his name and his web site (www.NJweedman.com) one and the same–a desperate prison-house bid to bring attention to the collateral damage of the War on Drugs. While most people probably mistook these acts of civil disobedience for giggle-worthy outtakes from a Cheech and Chong movie when they showed up on the evening news, they were in fact all part of kamikaze legal defense strategy that was, by all conventional standards of jurisprudence, crazy–but in the end proved to be crazy like a fox. MORE
RELATED: Gray is part of a growing national movement to rethink pot laws. From California, where lawmakers may outright legalize marijuana, to New Jersey, which implemented a medical use law Jan. 19, states are taking unprecedented steps to loosen marijuana restrictions. Advocates of legalizing marijuana say generational, political and cultural shifts have taken the USA to a unique moment in its history of drug prohibition that could topple 40 years of tough restrictions on both medicinal and recreational marijuana use. A Gallup Poll last October found 44% favor making marijuana legal, an eight-point jump since the question was asked in 2005. An ABC News-Washington Post poll in January found 81% favor making marijuana legal for medical use. MORE