Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What Do I Want for Christmas? FREE NJ WEEDMAN! #FREENJWEEDMAN

Donations needed.  Also send letters of support and thanking
Ed Forchion aka NJ Weedman for his successful leadership
of a movement to legalize cannabis in NJ!
#FREENJWEEDMAN

When bail reform was moving forward in the State of NJ, Peoples Organization for Progress issued a statement critically supporting the measures.  One of the points that POP called to be assured in the process is:

“It must authorize the release of low risk individuals under the least restrictive conditions possible.”

Two years later it is apparent that this POP concern has not been addressed and the perfect example proving as much is the holding of Ed Forchion, aka NJ Weedman, without bail. 

Ed Forchion is being held – now for about 9 months – initially for two charges, 2nd and 3rd degree witness tampering.  Based on those charges, the prosecution was able to convince the judge in the case that he should not be entitled to bail.  Then on November 16 the jury returned not guilty on the 2nd degree charge and was a hung jury – meaning it did not reach a decision – on the 3rd degree charge.  

However instead of immediately offering a bail option when Mr. Forchion was exonerated of the more serious charge – the judge scheduled a hearing and then decided that NJ Weedman should continue to be held.  And the judicial used the opportunity to add more time to the 6 month time line that is supposed to be enforced to guarantee a speedy trial for those who are denied the options to either be released on recognizance or be offered a cash bail option.

Ed Forchion, NJ Weedman is the poster child for what is wrong with the bail reform that was implemented in NJ.  He is being denied the right to speedy trial and is incarcerated without conviction.  Clearly NJ Weedman has been one of the most outspoken advocates to legalize cannabis in the state of NJ – an accomplishment that looks like soon will be a reality at least in some form.

The legalization of cannabis in NJ will hopefully reduce drastically the rampant onslaught by police, prosecutors and the judicial – aimed at otherwise innocent cannabis consumers and merchants – currently NJ arrests well over 20,000 residents a year!  Many are forced to undergo unnecessary “treatment” for their punishment.  These arrests enrich police, attorneys, prosecutors, corrections officers and judges who make a significant part of thelr living from cannabis law enforcement.  In 2014 according to an ACLU report, NJ was spending $127 million per year on cannabis law enforcement – an expenditure that likely has increased given the ratcheting up of the arrest counts.

Personally  - as far as bail goes – I think the part of the reform that allows indigent arrestees to be released is an asset but I was always nervous about the use of the provision that allows the criminal justice system to hold those without bail for somewhat arbitrary reasons.  

Ed Forchion was not arrested for any violent offense – he was exonerated on the heavier charge and not convicted on the lighter charge.  A vindictive prosecutor – instead of dropping the ill fated prosecution – has decided to press on – and the judge has agreed to continue to hold the supposed “innocent until proven guilty” Ed Forchion month after month.

It is now almost Christmas.  NJ owes a debt of gratitude to NJ Weedman, to Ed Forchion, since he had a major role to play in rallying the state of NJ toward legalization – some such rallies which I have attended and one I even spoke at. 

I know Ed as a friend – I do not always agree with his antics – but that’s ok – many people do not agree with my political activist style either.  However – I recognize an injustice and a crime against NJ being committed by Trenton, by the prosecution and by the judge.


If you ask me what I want for Christmas – I would tell you – FREE NJ WEEDMAN!  I also call upon the incoming Governor Murphy to – upon assuming office – immediately pardon Ed Forchion of all charges and release political prisoner number 420!

Also - please sign petition calling for immediate moratorium on cannabis prohibition enforcement:

1 comment:

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