New Jersey: N.J. Weedman Publishes Legal Motion To Help People Busted For Pot Possession

(Photo: Martin Griff/The Times)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Longtime cannabis advocate Ed Forchion, the N.J. Weedman, has turned his attention to the marijuana laws themselves. Forchion, a Pembertown Township resident, has posted a 12-page legal motion online which he said can be used by anyone arrested for marijuana possession in New Jersey.

"I'm tired of being a one-man gang," Forchion said, reports Mike Davis at The Times of Trenton, N.J. "I've been arguing these arguments for years. I'm just putting it out there. I don't care who does it, but let's get it done."

Forchion filed the brief in response to his most recent bust, after two Evesham, N.J., police officers found two joints on him after a vehicle stop on April 15.

"It's just like taking aspirin or Motrin," Forchion said. "I've got three joints with me right now. This could happen to me every day. I just about always have something on me."

Forchion argues that his arrest -- and all cannabis arrests since January 18, 2010 -- should be declared null and void.

That's because former N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine on that date signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act into law. The Act allows patients with specific serious illnesses to register with the state, and to buy cannabis from one of six allowed dispensaries (only one of which is open so far).

Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair is the only operational dispensary in the state; the Compassionate Care Foundation is scheduled to open another in Egg Harbor Township in September.

Former Gov. Christine Whitman in 1997 signed into law a new set of drug classifications which labeled cannabis a "Schedule I" drug, meaning it has "no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States."

But Forchion argues that the Legislature contradicted that in 2010, essentially admitting marijuana could be used medicinally.

"The implementation of the medical marijuana act, in effect, made the criminal status null and void and canceled it out," Forchion said. "You have a law saying something is blue and something is red, and they punish you for doing it red."

"You can't have it both ways, but that's New Jersey's law as it stands now," he said.

According to Forchion, New Jersey legislators failed to add a medical marijuana exception to the state's criminal statutes, as other states have done when allowing medicinal cannabis.

"They could have corrected this little problem, but they did nothing," Forchion said.

Forchion said 87 people have downloaded the brief since he uploaded it on Monday, with more than 800 people viewing the document. He said lawyers are welcome to add to and amend the 12-page brief to "hammer the point home," but that the motion is already written "as basic and with as much common sense as I can."

He hopes a case based on his motion will eventually get to the Appellate Court and ultimately change the law.

"I put it out there for people all over the state," Forchion said. "I don't care if some guy in Hunterdon County wins. My goal is for it to rule in the law.

"If dozens of people file it around the state, some judge is going to have to go with common sense and thy're going to go against the status quo," Forchion predicted.

(Photo: Martin Griff/The Times)