Diane Fornbacher, a nationally recognized marijuana legalization activist from Collingswood, is moving her family to Colorado. She says she needs cannabis to alleviate a health condition that NJ's medical marijuana program doesn't cover.
Fornbacher, who sits on the national board of NORML, an organization that has fought for legalization for decades, says she has complex PTSD, which is not one of the dozen ailments that qualify for cannabis in N.J.
On New Year's Day, Colorado became the first state in the country to allow the sale of recreational pot. It also has a more inclusive medical marijuana program.
Fornbacher, who publishes Ladybud, an online magazine that promotes cannabis, says Colorado's first recreational pot retail outlet, 3-d Cannabis, in Denver, has also offered her a job working there because of her commitment to the cause. "I might grow it or cook it," she said.
She also wants to move because she is upset that NJ authorities tried to take her two children away two years ago on false charges, saying she was growing marijuana in her home.
"My biggest reason for moving is I want to protect myself and my children," said Fornbacher, 36. Married with two sons, ages 11 and 4, she hopes to move within two months.
Her husband, who does computer programming, plans to tele-commute.
Nearly 18 months ago, Fornbacher said that she was surprised when state welfare workers tried to remove her children. Her oldest son had mentioned the word “hemp” to a teacher, who began questioning him about it, Fornbacher said.
State welfare authorities later came to her house with the police and said they wanted to look around, she said.
She said she later received a letter from the state Division of Children and Families saying the investigation was closed because the charges were unfounded.
A DCF spokesperson said the agency could not comment due to confidentiality issues.
Fornbacher said the family's move will give her children "a mother who is more complete and happy and not struggling so much" with an ailment that cannabis can help alleviate. And, she said, she won't have to worry about authorities questioning her parenting because of her activism.