Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Democrats try to kick pot advocate off ballot

In this file photo, Ed Forchion, aka "New Jersey Weedman," explains  to Judge Charles Delehey why he can represent himself during a trial. (Akira Suwa / Staff Photographer )
In this file photo, Ed Forchion, aka "New Jersey Weedman," explains to Judge Charles Delehey why he can represent himself during a trial. (Akira Suwa / Staff Photographer )
A perpetual New Jersey political candidate who calls himself "NJ Weedman" could be ousted from November's congressional ballot after a challenge this week from Democrats.

Ed Forchion says the action shows that the rising tide of pro-pot voters could siphon votes from Democrat Aimee Belgard, a Burlington County freeholder, in her run against Republican Tom MacArthur, a former insurance executive, for an open seat.

The Legalize Marijuana Party candidate said Wednesday, "I'm a bigger name than their candidate."

Democratic State Committee spokesman Matt Farrauto said Forchion was not seen as a real threat. "If you don't meet the statutory requirements, you're subject to a challenge," he said.

After an administrative law hearing that began Tuesday and finished early Wednesday, Forchion said 109 of the 208 signatures he submitted were invalidated, leaving him one shy of the required 100.

Farrauto said Forchion also was being challenged because he registered just last month to vote in California.

Forchion argues that he's eligible to vote in two places, so long as he doesn't cast ballots in congressional elections in both states. He also contends the challenge to his candidacy arrived by fax at 4:03 p.m. Monday, three minutes after the deadline for challenges.

"If I showed up at 4:03," he said, "I'd hear all the stoner jokes: 'Dude, were you smoking that last doobie?' "

It will be up to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, in her capacity as secretary of state, to decide whether Forchion can run.

Forchion, who splits his time between Browns Mills and Sicklerville, was released from jail in January after serving 130 days for marijuana possession.

He has run for office several times in New Jersey since the 1990s. Even when he was living part time in California, no one tried to kick him off the ballot.

Geoff Mulvihill Associated Press
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected