‘NJ Weedman’ gets nine months for violating probation

Posted: March 13, 2013

The man who calls himself NJ Weedman was sentenced Tuesday to a harsher term for violating probation than he had received for possessing a pound of marijuana.

Ed Forchion, 48, received nine months in the Burlington County Jail for failing to sign up immediately with the probation department after he was sentenced in January to two years on probation on an April 2010 drug charge.

Forchion, a former New Jerseyan who lives in Los Angeles, was arrested Jan. 31 at Philadelphia International Airport as he prepared to fly home.

Superior Court Judge Charles Delehey had allowed the marijuana-legalization activist to return home for medical treatments for bone tumors and to transfer his probation there.

"The judge was upset he didn't report right away, and Forchion apologized," said Don Ackerman, his public defender. The judge then said he would allow Forchion to complete his medical treatments in California and then return to finish his sentence.

He had persuaded a jury to acquit him of more serious charges of drug distribution last year after testifying that he used marijuana to alleviate pain from the tumors. He is believed to be the only person in the state to base his criminal defense on the inconsistency of the criminal and medical-marijuana drug laws in New Jersey.

Forchion argued that he would have qualified for medical marijuana in New Jersey but was still prosecuted. He has a license to use medical marijuana in California, but New Jersey does not recognize it.

He could have received 10 years on the distribution charges and up to 18 months on his drug possession conviction. Instead, he ended up with jail for violating probation.

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


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