The most arrested man in New Jersey was busted for pot possession on February 6, despite the fact cannabis has been legalized in the Garden State.
Driving his so-called "Weedmobile," Ed Forchion (a.k.a. NJ Weedman) and a passenger were stopped by police in Wanaque at 12:25 am. The SUV has POT TROOPER, 420 and NJ WEEDMAN painted on it and a green emergency light on top.
"My license was good, my registration was good, my insurance is good," Forchion explains. "All my papers are good. But when he pulled me over he said he was pulling me over for the green light. And, of course, he said he smelled marijuana."
Police searched the car and found two grams of cannabis, two vape pens and $9,000.
Forchion received the following charges:
• possession of marijuana under 50 grams;
• possession of hashish under five grams;
• possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia;
• fourth-degree possession with the intent to distribute marijuana under five grams;
• fourth-degree conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
He was also issued vehicle summons for improper or unclear plates, operation of a motor vehicle while in possession of drugs and color of lights emitted.
Forchion owns NJ Weedman's Joint, a restaurant in Trenton that also dispenses cannabis illegally.
"This was a street robbery by the Wanaque police department," Forchion gripes about the arrest. "This guy started talking about the gateway theory. He started talking about kids and heroin. He did not like me. And he did not like the Weedmobile. And it will be part of my lawsuit that he used my free speech and my freedom of expression as justification to initiate police action."
Forchion is due in court on February 22.
Marijuana arrests continue to be made by the New Jersey, whose voters passed a legalization initiative on November 6 by a whopping 67% -33% margin. In January, while the legislature debated how to set up regulation, 2,378 people were busted on cannabis charges.
Legislation has been in limbo as the lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy work out the details. The biggest sticking point has been how to handle underage use.
The delay is a “a huge concern,” notes Chris Goldstein, who works with NORML in New Jersey. "The problem is police are still enforcing prohibition. They need a clearer directive.”
LIke stopping the arrests altogether.
Forchion spent 17 months in jail from 2002-2003 for his poliical activities. He sued the state, claiming his First Amendment rights were denied, won the case and was released. Forchion has since been nabbed several more times, including the latest bust.