Ed Forchion, who calls himself NJ Weedman, got a break when a judge sentenced him last month to probation for having a pound of marijuana. He could have gotten 18 months. A prosecutor pushed for one year, noting Forchion had priors.
The marijuana activist wasn't thrilled. He wanted his sentence stayed until he could file an appeal. He believed he would be vindicated because he is a licensed medical marijuana user in California. New Jersey, however, doesn't recognize out-of-state licenses.
The judge said 'no' and Forchion decided to skip probation.
His reason: Why should he have to meet periodically with a probation officer for the next two years, as the judge ordered, if a higher court agrees with him?
Now, in a handwritten letter from prison, Forchion says "Miscalculation would be an understatement." He's been in a Philly jail two weeks awaiting extradition to Burlington County. He now faces a new charge - violating probation - and again faces up to 18 months if convicted.
For years, Forchion has been battling in court, steadfastly arguing that marijuana should be legal. Sometimes, his arguments were successful. Last year a jury seemed to sympathize with him, acquitting him of a charge he planned to distribute the pound of pot he had in his car during a traffic stop in 2010. He argued he needed the drug for personal use because he has painful bone tumors.
Forchion said last month that he knew he might end up in jail when he skipped probation. But he believed it would be a "short stint." He said is looking forward to getting "his day in court."
But he's already had days and days and days in court.
In his letter, he said he is being unfairly being persecuted for "being a fugitive of justice." He was arrested as he was about to board a plane for L.A., his home.
The judge allowed him to transfer his probation to L.A. - but first he was supposed to register in Burlco. Now there will be another hearing to sort this all out.