Ed "NJWeedman" Forchion, possibly the best known marijuana legalization advocate in the country, was released from jail Thursday, January 30, after the judge reconsidered his sentence and reduced it to "time served."
Libertarian News Examiner covered his case or mentioned his activism in 18 news articles and editorials, along with a two-part interview, over a span of two years from September 2011 to September 2013.
Forchion had been serving a 270-day jail sentence in the Burlington County, New Jersey, jail but was allowed to return to California every 20 days to receive treatment for giant cancerous tumors in his legs.
His treatment included medical marijuana that eased the pain caused by the tumors.
Forchion was convicted for possession of marijuana – what he always referred to as "My medicine" – after a 2010 vehicle stop. Forchion was a legally licensed cannabis user in California but he found himself trapped in a Catch 22 situation.
Even though New Jersey had passed the "Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act" before his stop and arrest it hadn't been "officially enacted" yet, and it wouldn't have helped him anyway since out-of-state patients weren't protected by the law's provisions.
He was, as pointed out at the time, "Sort of like being an 'illegal alien' in your own country."
Forchion mounted his own jury nullification defense and beat the major distribution charge but was still found guilty and sentenced on the lesser possession charge.
Even before his release Forchion launched a "Just say no to Christie Campaign" against the Governor's presumptive presidential run.
This was before Christie's so-called "Bridgegate" and other unfolding controversies.
Forchion harbors little enthusiasm for the Governor, not only because Christie apparently failed to respond to Forchion's request for medical clemency and release in November but because of his anti-marijuana stance in general.
"I'm enjoying watching Christopher Christie going through this political scandal," Forchion said on the Jim Gearhart Show a day before his announced release. "[I'm] Still surprised no one’s talking about what he’s done to NJ’s medical marijuana program. He’s totally undermined it, I think viciously at times. I think it should be called Weedgate."
Forchion's dislike of Christie goes back to 2003 when Christie was a US Attorney and Forchion was arrested for protesting outside of Christie's office in Newark.
"Christie bullied me!" Forchion claims.
Forchion's release Thursday requires him to pay fines and penalties but doesn't include any probation time.
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