Ed Forchion, aka "N.J. Weedman," Puts His Freedom on the Line—Again

By Michael Alan Goldberg
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 23 | Posted Oct. 12, 2011

Share this Story:

Optimally, however, it’s nullification Forchion says he’s after, which wouldn’t knock New Jersey’s marijuana laws off the books but, as Conrad explains, it may make them more difficult to enforce both in New Jersey and other states. “Especially if this case gets a lot of attention—and seeing as it’s Ed, it probably will—and the next jury says, ‘Well, we’re just gonna do the same thing as what happened in that other case.’ Eventually, prosecutors start to lose enthusiasm for the law and the legislature determines the law is useless when the public doesn’t support it. That’s how Prohibition was ended.”

The trial could go yet another way: The prosecutor could decide to bump the charges down to simple possession, and in that case, says Forchion, he’d take a guilty plea because it likely wouldn’t mean any jail time. “I’ll pay the fine, get some probation, and hop on a plane right back to California,” he says. Russell thinks that scenario is unlikely, however: “My brother’s made a lot of enemies [in the New Jersey court system] over the years and I think they’re really out to nail him this time,” he says.

If Forchion’s under any illusions that the state might cut him a break, a concurrent Burlington County marijuana case involving his brother and one of his longtime friends, outspoken New Jersey medical marijuana activist Colleen Begley, appears to illustrate otherwise.

According to a Burlington Township Police Department report, detectives learned from a confidential informant that a package of marijuana was being shipped from California to a house in Burlington via UPS this past Feb. 11. Cops staking out the residence saw Russell Forchion’s green Jeep slowly drive past the house several times that morning, then observed Begley, 30, arrive at the house in her Jeep, pick up the package that had been left on the porch by UPS, and drive away. Following a brief chase—during which Begley crashed her Jeep into a building—Begley was apprehended with two-and-a-half pounds of weed. At the same time, other officers stopped Russell Forchion at gunpoint at a nearby stoplight. “When they pulled their guns on me and dragged me out of the car, they thought they were arresting my brother,” says Russell. “When I was out of the car they said, ‘That’s not the Weedman.’”

Begley was indicted on possession with intent, eluding police, and resisting arrest charges, while Russell Forchion was hit with a conspiracy charge. Investigators traced the shipment back to a UPS store in Hollywood just two blocks from the Weedman’s Liberty Bell Temple. That’s where the trail ended. “They didn’t connect the dots, and I’m glad they didn’t connect the dots,” says Forchion, who will neither confirm nor deny that he sent the package. Both Russell Forchion and Begley say Luciano, who’s also prosecuting their case, has already offered them deals to flip on the Weedman. “They want me to rat him out so badly, but it’s a really go-nowhere attempt,” says Begley. “I don’t understand why they’re not happy just prosecuting the hell out of me, but [Forchion] is the target here. They seem to be willing to give up everything they have on me just to have double what they have on him.”

Russell says Luciano offered him four years, with parole eligibility after one year. “I’m not taking any kind of a plea, I’m going out kicking and screaming this time.”

Begley’s retained the services of a high-powered, high-priced attorney who plans to use some of the same arguments as Forchion—although not, as per the rules, a jury nullification defense—to gain an acquittal or reduced charges for his client. A trial date hasn’t been set, but for a while this summer it looked like Begley’s might happen before the Weedman’s. And so sure is he that he’s going to win his own case, Forchion’s most pressing concern of late was that Begley would win her case first, and the history books might show that “Begley vs. New Jersey,” was the pivotal decision in the long fight to legalize marijuana.

"I've put 15 years into this!" Forchion says. "Someone's gonna be the person that changes the law, and I wanna be that dude."

"I just hope they call it 'Weedman vs. New Jersey,'" he laughs.

Prev| Page: 1 2 3
Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend


Comments 1 - 23 of 23
Report Violation

1. Ken Wolski, RN said... on Oct 12, 2011 at 10:40AM

“Ed Forchion is a legitimate, card-carrying medical marijuana user.

The Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey (CMMNJ) plans a demonstration to protest his arrest and prosecution outside the Superior Court of Burlington County, 49 Rancocas Rd., Mount Holly, NJ on Oct. 18, 2011 at 9 am.

It is an outrage that patients who use marijuana with the recommendation of their physicians continue to be arrested and incarcerated in New Jersey despite the Medical Marijuana law.

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. www.cmmnj.org

Report Violation

2. DM said... on Oct 12, 2011 at 01:15PM

“Except that, Ed Forchion was not arrested for "(using) marijuana with the recommendation of his physician" was he?

He was arrested and indicted for felony possession with intent to distribute.

Still don't understand why this man should be regarded as any kind of hero.
A resume:
He claims to smoke weed all day, every day. Fine. I presume, however, that includes while he's driving (operating heavy machinery), as it appears he was when arrested in April 2010. No matter what your immunity, this has to affect your cognition (seeing green traffic lights where there are none, for example?) and is therefore irresponsible. What a role model.

He has made hundreds of thousands of dollars buying and selling large quantities of marijuana, in the process doing business with - for starters - a Mexican drug cartel also doing a line in heroin and cocaine. Not at the top of sympathy list.

Report Violation

3. DM said... on Oct 12, 2011 at 01:28PM

“Furthermore, if he is a self-styled Weed Warrior, bravely "putting his freedom on the line", as part of a principled defense of personal freedom itself - why the mealy-mouthed recourse to "medicinal use" and 1st Amendment religious expression rights?

Surely a true civil liberties warrior would make the simple and bold case that marijuana use ought to be legal, period. The addendum "...and anyway I have a medical issue and it's like, my religion" strikes me as (understandably) self-protective, rather than the self-sacrificial act of a hero on the cusp of a seminal moment in US Constitutional history, as the tone of the article seems to suggest.

Everyone has the right to their day in court, but if Forchion does indeed end up begging for his freedom, or losing it, it will be as the result of his own informed volition about how best to make his living, and put all his purported abilities to use.

Report Violation

4. DM said... on Oct 12, 2011 at 01:36PM

“I certainly don't think individuals like Forchion especially deserve to be targeted by the law. And, just to clarify, I have no difficulty at all with anyone smoking up (in private or in public), once they're not endangering others.

But a hero? Two things about that: First, that someone with his resume could ever be talked about in such mythic tones says more about us than it does about Forchion. Second, if I WERE a Legalization campaigner, I would be desperately look around for another Messiah.”

Report Violation

5. NJWeedman said... on Oct 13, 2011 at 01:03AM

“I think it was a great article m Goldberg! As for DM's comments haters are everywhere! Look who hiding use your real name dm. I've always claimed to be a legalizer which includes all three aspects of use: social,spiritual and medical. I admit to all three reason always have. I've been battling a tumor condition for over 12 years and I rarely every talk about it to anyone- just recently posted images of my latest tumour on my site in response to state charges. The trooper lied, he didn't smell any weed and i didn't run the light it was a pretense stop. I wasn't smoking, hadn't smoked in the car.He was going to pull me over when he saw me.


The pipe was left on there from the day before by someone else but I'm up for this fight dm. My only request is I have a fair trial, be allowed to have witness's and question the flawed law. I willing to risk my freedom with a jury of 12 its the state that isn't willing to give me a fair trial.

Report Violation

6. njweedman said... on Oct 13, 2011 at 01:29AM

“Dm - yes I did have a Dr rec in my wallet and a state medical marijuana card from California. I wasn't selling anything it was my stash I'd just brought with me from California. I was replenishing my medicine stash in jersey. - why would I want to go out everytime I'm in jersey to street corners getting garbage weed. I keep good weed for myself - for my condition and for my pleasure. I admit I like good weed like republicans (example- rush limbaugh) likes good cigars.


Why should I have to use inferior medicines while in jersey.”

Report Violation

7. Dan Mac Guill (DM) said... on Oct 13, 2011 at 12:09PM

“Hey Weedman thanks for coming on here! Wasn't hiding my name by the way, just keeping things short. Let me just make it clear - no problem with medicinal use, and I sympathize with your condition. No problem w/ personal use just once it doesn't endanger anyone else. If you weren't smoking driving on April 1st, fine. But would it be fair to say you do in general?
Also, if you didn't run that light, you need to take it up with Goldberg, because it was the article that said you did.
I'm not hating I don't think you're a villain. Just definitely not any kind of hero. From what Goldberg writes, it seems like you've taken big risks, made big money, made big mistakes, dealt w/ some shady folks - fine, you're a human being. You watch TMZ enjoy recreation that's illegal in some places. Ok. I just don't see how any of that makes you any kind of hero. Good luck on Oct. 18th.”

Report Violation

8. Anonymous said... on Oct 13, 2011 at 02:49PM


Report Violation

9. njweedman said... on Oct 13, 2011 at 06:37PM

“I agree a hero sometimes can be in the eye of others a zero. For instance is never call Frank rizzo a hero, or Ronald Reagan. There are those who think Ollie north is a hero, to me he should have been in prison with freeway Rick Ross. But many republican types would. I am a hero to some not you kool.”

Report Violation

10. MAG said... on Oct 13, 2011 at 08:29PM

“Weedman didnt run the red light but he did go over the white line and a few feet into the intersection--as I wrote, and as both the police report and Weedman will attest. Whether or not that justified being pulled over is what Ed is saying, but he says himself he went over the white line, as written in the piece. Just want to make sure that is clear.

Report Violation

11. Jim DeMaio Jr said... on Oct 15, 2011 at 05:14AM

“To weedman: I love what you said about the "roe v wade" decision. I think the day for weed legalization will be won in court. My thoughts and best hopes are with you in your trial. I am from NJ myself. Now this crap going on in CA with Obama shutting down medical cannabis dispensaries. I thought he was about change but what is this all about?????”

Report Violation

12. Jim DeMaio Jr said... on Oct 15, 2011 at 05:15AM

“To weedman: I love what you said about the "roe v wade" decision. I think the day for weed legalization will be won in court. My thoughts and best hopes are with you in your trial. I am from NJ myself. Now this crap going on in CA with Obama shutting down medical cannabis dispensaries. I thought he was about change but what is this all about?????”

Report Violation

13. njweedman said... on Oct 15, 2011 at 12:54PM

“I beleive they are just threats from rogue members of the justice department. The genni is out of the bottle and they will never be able to put it back in. They are hoping to scare landlords into kicking tentants (dispensories) out.”

Report Violation

14. Fighter for Freedom said... on Oct 17, 2011 at 02:39PM

“Come on people wheres the freedom at? I pick seeds out of it as if it were an apple. You don't have to brew it, put a filter on it or cock it. Isn't it funny how its legal to sell cigarettes?
Alcohol Deaths per year: 75000
Cigarettes : 5 million
Guns : Well you get the hint...............



Report Violation

15. fighter for freedom said... on Oct 17, 2011 at 02:54PM

“In God we trust? well he put it here. Seems more like in manufacturing we trust. Makes me wanna fly a plane into a building. But then i smoke a joint and saner heads prov ale. Who knows? i might get drunk later though? so look out! Or ill just smoke cigarettes til i get emphysema and continuously go to the hospital without ins. is that better? Sorry for ranting. I feel bad for this guy because people in charge weren't taught by there mothers to notice right from wrong.... so obvious. well laugh at the people against it later for sure.”

Report Violation

16. Anonymous said... on Oct 17, 2011 at 03:09PM

“Why isn't it legal? Is this happening in America? what happend to freedom? Im for whatever kills less people. Is your government for the opposite?”

Report Violation

17. Anonymous said... on Oct 17, 2011 at 06:57PM

“I hope they award you that 4 million, you deserve it, fighting for our rights and all. Thanks Weedman i look up to you!”

Report Violation

18. Zardoz said... on Oct 18, 2011 at 09:13AM

“There are different kinds of heroes. For those of us who seek to correct the injustice of anti-cannabis laws, anybody who has a legal action that helps to achieve this, or at least attempts to do so, is a hero to our community. I think a better word to describe them is "victim", because our none of our "heroes" really wanted to be in the position they found themselves in. They are heroes for what they did to fight their charges.”

Report Violation

19. stephanie landa said... on Oct 18, 2011 at 09:15AM

“No-one should go to jail for a plant!

Report Violation

20. Ebony said... on Oct 25, 2011 at 04:57PM

“Great article..I had the pleasure of meeting the NJweedman on his first scheduled trial date. Although he's not my hero, I was there to support him as a leader in the struggle...I can guess what DM stands for lol #dumbmufucka”

Report Violation

21. Ebony said... on Oct 25, 2011 at 06:43PM

“...seeing lights turn green before they actually turn green??? That's that good-good!!! lol...”

Report Violation

22. Dan Mac Guill (DM) said... on Oct 27, 2011 at 11:47AM

“Hi Ebony - I'm curious to know what you think I stand for. #noneedfornamecalling”

Report Violation

23. Lynne Wilson aka Happy Hemptress said... on Oct 31, 2011 at 11:01AM



(HTML and URLs prohibited)

Related Content

PW Exclusive: DEA Takes Down N.J. Weedman's California Pot Operation
By Michael Alan Goldberg

The long, strange saga of Ed "NJ Weedman" Forchion—marijuana folk hero and New Jersey weed activist-turned-California weed capitalist—has taken a turn for the worse.

Related Content

Medical Marijuana in New Jersey: 'This Law Was Designed to Fail'
By Michael Alan Goldberg

Rues Road—which winds through an idyllic and remote area of Upper Freehold Township, New Jersey, past lush farm fields and the occasional McMansion set back on a sprawling parcel of land—doesn't look much like a battlefield. But it's become ground zero in the fight over the state's Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, in limbo for nearly two years since former Gov. Jon Corzine signed the bill on his last day of office in January 2010.

RELATED: NJ's Medical Marijuana Law Comes With a Slew of Restrictions Reefer Sadness N.J. Holds Off On Medical Marijuana Law

Related Content

Smokey and the Bandit
By Jonathan Valania

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 officia...