Ed Forchion, widely known as NJ Weedman, was sentenced to probation Wednesday for possessing a pound of pot. But first he got in a few defiant jabs at the prosecutor, the judge, and a legal system that he says criminalizes a plant.
At a hearing in Mt. Holly, Assistant Prosecutor Mike Luciano pushed for a 12-month prison term. "He's one of the most interesting characters I've come across," said Luciano, who earlier was mailed an unsolicited package of marijuana seeds by the longtime marijuana activist.
"But we can't give this defendant a walk," Luciano said, noting Forchion's criminal record and the need to send a message.
Forchion was unapologetic. "It wouldn't deter me. I can smoke marijuana everyday in prison... I have close to a half pound of marijuana here in New Jersey now," he told the judge.
During his trial, Forchion told the jury that he believes marijuana should be legalized and that he uses it daily to relieve pain caused by bone tumors. Then he dropped a bomb. He said he had been nibbling on "marijuana cookies at the defense table" while the trial was in progress. No one said a word.
The jury later acquitted him of the more serious charge of drug distribution.
Superior Court Judge Charles Delehey sentenced Forchion to two-years probation and allowed the case to be transferred to L.A., Forchion's hometown. Looking relieved, the judge banged the gavel and said: "I think that takes care of the entire matter."
But Forchion was having none of it. He is planning an appeal.
"The judge was wrong" when he ruled that Forchion could not argue that New Jersey's marijuana laws are not logical and that this was grounds for an acquittal, Forchion said. "The laws are ridiculous," he said. "I'm going to get those laws changed."
After the hearing, he spotted Luciano walking through the court lobby. "Why don't you smoke a bowl with me sometime?" he shouted.