New Jersey Weedman Does “Hunger Strike for Bail” From Mercer County Jail

NEW JERSEY:  Is orange the new green? Cannabis activist, cancer patient and self-proclaimed “Superhero of the Potheads” Ed Forchion aka NJ Weedman might well be pondering this dilemma as he sits out his “Hunger Strike for Bail” protest in New Jersey’s Mercer County Jail. The free speech activist was originally incarcerated on March 3, 2017 and is being held without bail on charges of witness tampering. Forchion has since filed a Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus in U.S. Federal District Court of Trenton New Jersey (Case No. 317CV02669PGS) claiming a tragic violation of his civil rights under New Jersey’s new bail reform laws.  Forchion has gone without food for over 11 days.

The charges were filed after Forchion, per the approval of his former attorney, posted the name and photo of a police informant on his Facebook page, requesting the public to help him find information on the man. Forchion believed the individual was a paid informant, hired by the Trenton Police, to build a drug case against him. Under New Jersey’s new bail reform laws, which went into effect January 1, officials cite that certain conditions can warrant pre-trial detention, like danger to the community, flight risk or threat to a witness.

“I am a peaceful, proud and patriotic pothead,” cites Forchion. “Yet I have sat here for over 100 days in a cell while watching real criminals, like murderers and rapists, get released daily on bail. Nothing I did was illegal,” Forchion has stated from jail. “Nothing I did was wrong. In fact, I actually thought I was in accordance with the law per the advice of my attorney.” (Forchion’s attorney has since been removed from the case per his own request.)

Forchion’s long standing battle for marijuana law reform has been documented for over two decades. Considered by many as the “grandfather of marijuana reform in New Jersey,” Forchion is a bone cancer patient who states he needs marijuana for his symptoms. Forchion’s most recent travails with the Trenton Police Department have shined an international media spotlight on the state’s current cannabis policy. Forchion contends he is political prisoner due to the “politics of pot Jersey Style.”

Amongst his many trials and tribulations over the years, Forchion pleaded guilty in 2000 to charges of conspiracy to distribute and marijuana possession and was released on parole after serving 18 months on a reduced sentence. He was arrested again in Burlington County, N.J., in 2010 on marijuana possession and distribution charges. In 2012 a jury utilized “jury nullification” and found him “not guilty” of possession with intent to distribute. He was found guilty of simple possession. Forchion argued his health condition gave him a “medical necessity” defense to possess and appealed the decision all the way to the US Supreme Court, where they declined to hear it.

Forchion achieved Hollywood notoriety when he opened a marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles in 2008, saying it was a temple that used marijuana as part of its religious ceremonies. The California temple was shut down after a federal drug raid in 2011.

Currently Forchion, a Rastafarian, is the co-owner of New Jersey’s only cannabis-themed restaurant, NJWeedman’s Joint and spiritual sanctuary, Liberty Bell Temple III, located directly across from New Jersey’s Trenton City Hall. He opened the businesses, alongside his partner, medical marijuana mom activist and registered nurse, Debi Madaio. The restaurant and sanctuary receive not only a steady stream of customers but also worldwide media attention.

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RN Debi Madaio Plans NJWeedman’s Joint Relaunch On 4/20

NEW JERSEY: Debi Madaio never thought she would become a public advocate for medical marijuana. As the co-owner of NJWeedman’s Joint, a popular marijuana-themed eatery, located in Trenton, NJ, and the partner of Ed Forchon aka NJ Weedman, one of the cannabis industry’s most controversial figureheads, she has found herself pushed to the forefront of a movement where the voices of women are becoming increasingly vocal. A registered nurse, the mother of a special needs child, and a card carrying medical marijuana patient (even though she does not partake of the plant), Debi Madaio has come to terms with her position in the movement. In the midst of Women’s History Month, a time dedicated to women’s achievements, Madaio has announced her plans to reopen Trenton’s only cannabis-themed eatery under new management. NJWeedman’s Joint will reopen on April 20, “National Weed Day,” as Weedbukx, the Urban Chic Café.

While NJWeedman’s Joint was a local eatery, Madaio envisions Weedbukx as a more trendy, upscale location that will attract clientele from other neighborhoods and even tourists. The restaurant’s ambiance will mirror an actual medical marijuana grow room with curtains, table clothes and chairs designed and fashioned after marijuana leaves. The menu will feature weekly ‘weed’ specials alongside Chef John Upshaw’s prized weed-inspired dishes like “Snoop’s Dream,” a fish and grits dish; the “Pothead Sandwich,” fried fish with a shrimp crab relish and sriracha sauce; and the “East Coast Cannabis Coalition,” a turkey meatball dinner with marinara sauce and spaghetti. No cannabis is used in any of the entrees!

While marijuana continues to blossom as one the nation’s fastest growing industries, Madaio emerges as a compelling female force in the expanding battle to legalize it. As the woman behind NJWeedman, she has remained relatively quiet until now. Forchion has garnered international headlines for his aggressive activism in the fight for legalization. His legal battles have become legendary, and as the co-owner of NJWeedman’s Joint, the former restaurant attracted national notoriety as well as discord for its ‘green-themed’ entrees.

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Madaio met Forchion several years ago at Trenton’s “First Annual Cannabis Conference.” Jennie Stormes, a medical marijuana mom advocate had invited her. It was Stormes who first educated Madaio about the benefits of cannabis oil for children suffering from seizures. Stormes had been at the forefront of efforts to expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program to minors before eventually leaving New Jersey for Colorado to secure better care for her severely epileptic son.As a medical professional and dedicated parent, Madaio has begun the lengthy process of enrolling her son so he can become a medical marijuana patient within the state of New Jersey. She believes that cannabis oil, a product obtained by separating the resins from the plant, is the best antidote for her son’s long list of debilitating conditions.

“I thought Stormes was crazy until I started doing the research about cannabis oil. She had tried everything on her son, and nothing proved beneficial like the oil. It gravely concerns me that my own son has been prescribed all kinds of pharmaceuticals considered legal even to the point of addiction, while the side effects are sometimes worse than the actual illness. Yet the doctors laugh at me when I suggest a plant that has been proven to work wonders,” cites Madaio.

Madaio and Forchion established a friendship after the conference and eventually became a couple. When Forchion later decided to open a business, Madaio, feeling more educated about cannabis from her association with Storme, partnered with him. “I wanted to keep Jennie’s dream alive and let Governor Christie know that New Jersians want legalization.”

“It’s easy to demonize adults in this war against marijuana. But there are so many ailing minors who can benefit from this plant,” expresses Madaio. “My ultimate dream is to provide for my son and to secure him the proper cannabis care that he needs. With Weedbukx Café, we are hoping to provide an upscale environment where people can celebrate the wonders of marijuana in a fun environment without partaking in the actual use of it. With card carrying medical marijuana patients, we follow NJ CUMMA guidelines. If we can educate more people via Weedbukx Café about our overall mission, then that is all the better.”

Weedbukx Café will open on 4/20 at 322 E. State St. in Trenton, NJ. Debi Madaio can be reached at Flamingo2b@gmail.com, @flamingo2b on Instagram and on Facebook at “Nurses Who Have Disabled Children.”

 

Dozens Smoke Pot Outside N.J. Statehouse During ‘Spring Smoke Out’ Rally For Marijuana Legalization

NEW JERSEY:  With chants like, “One! Two! Three! Four! Smoke, smoke, smoke some more!” a crowd of more than 100 people supporting the legalization of marijuana descended Saturday on the Statehouse in Trenton.

The “Spring Smoke Out” rally grew in intensity as it progressed through East State Street, culminating with the demonstration outside the Statehouse that included a few dozen people smoking marijuana in protest at 4:20 p.m.

“Who’s ready to protest?” Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion called out to the crowd, eliciting a chorus of cheers. “We are!”

“Who’s ready to smoke? Who’s ready to vote?” Forchion yelled. “We are!” the group responded, cheering louder than before.