NJ Weedman may face jail for failing to comply with sentence

Posted: February 05, 2013

Marijuana activist Ed Forchion, who calls himself NJ Weedman, predicted last week that he likely would face "a short jail stint" because he had refused to report to Burlington County authorities as required by his sentence of probation for possessing a pound of the drug.

Forchion, 48, is now in a Philadelphia jail awaiting extradition. U.S. marshals arrested him at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday, at the request of the Burlington County sheriff's office, as he was about to depart for his home in Los Angeles, authorities said.

"I'm confident that on appeal my case will be overturned," Forchion said, explaining why he objected to begin his periodic meetings with a probation officer and possible drug testing. He was required to register first in Burlington County and then could have continued serving his probation in Los Angeles.

Superior Court Judge Charles Delehey last month gave Forchion two years' probation and levied more than $3,400 in fines and fees, rebuffing a prosecutor's recommendation he order a one-year jail term.

At his trial, Forchion argued that New Jersey now recognizes medical marijuana and that he is a licensed medical marijuana user in California because he has bone tumors.

Forchion is believed to be the first person in New Jersey to use such a defense.

The prosecutor, however, said New Jersey does not recognize Forchion's out-of-state license and said the drug is restricted to residents with qualifying medical conditions.

Forchion, a former Pemberton resident, was visiting family when he was arrested with the drug during a motor vehicle stop on April 1, 2010.

The judge denied Forchion's request to stay the sentence while he appeals. Forchion said he then skipped probation "on principle."

After two trials, including a mistrial, at which Forchion admitted to having the drug, he was acquitted of drug distribution charges and convicted of possession.

Contact Jan Hefler at 856-779-3224, jhefler@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @JanHefler. Read her blog, "Burlco Buzz," at www.philly.com/BurlcoBuzz.

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