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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v16/n536/a08.html
Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm
Votes: 0
Pubdate: Wed, 10 Aug 2016
Source: Trentonian, The (NJ)
Copyright: 2016 The Trentonian
Website: http://www.trentonian.com
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1006
Author: David Foster


TRENTON – Facing an 11-count indictment on drug charges, Ed Forchion, aka NJ Weedman, is not breaking a sweat.

In fact, the pro-marijuana activist has challenged acting Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri to take the lead on the case.

“I’m ready for it,” Forchion said Tuesday shortly after learning of the indictment.  “I really hope that Prosecutor Onofri presents this case and takes this ass whooping himself.”

Onofri announced Tuesday in a press release that a grand jury returned the indictment charging the 52-year-old with numerous drug offenses stemming from a raid on April 27 at his restaurant and pot temple directly across from City Hall on East State Street.

During the raid, 11 people, including Forchion, were arrested for various offenses after police seized $19,000 worth of pot.  Some were apprehended in connection with outstanding warrants, and others were charged with new drug offenses.

The prosecutor’s office has rarely – if ever – put out a press release regarding on indictment on drug offenses.  The indictment press releases are consistently associated with just murder cases.

Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Casey DeBlasio explained Tuesday that Forchion’s indictment was released due to media requests.

But Forchion’s attorney Edward Heyburn sees it a different way.

“I think that they have selectively targeted Ed Forchion from the beginning,” the attorney said Tuesday.  “They’ve enforced statutes against him that they haven’t enforced against any other business.”

Forchion, who is free on bail, is scheduled for his first appearance on Thursday morning in Mercer County State Superior Court in Trenton.

A motion his attorney made to return Forchion’s surveillance system will also be heard at the court date.

“They intentionally seized his surveillance system that will show that he is not guilty of these offenses,” the attorney said.  “And I am concerned that the prosecutor’s office will mishandle the video and delete important aspects of it for their convenience.”

Heyburn said the seizure happened after his client reached out to the city’s attorneys alerting them that a police captain had lied in an affidavit and his video proved it.

“To me, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is just playing a dangerous game where they’re trying to control evidence of not only of my client’s innocence, but of perjury,” Heyburn said.

Forchion’s relationship with police has been anything but harmonious in recent months.  He was also arrested in May for cyberbullying and harassment of a Trenton police officer outside of his restaurant.

Experts have weighed in that the charges are unconstitutional and the story was reported by national media outlets.

On Friday, Forchion sent Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson a letter telling the city leader he would entertain a $150,000 settlement instead of filing a lawsuit.

“The actions of the Police on May 11th and May 13th were clearly unconstitutional violations of my civil rights and I would most likely prevail in a federal civil rights lawsuit,” Forchion stated in the letter obtained by The Trentonian.  “Mr.  Mayor Expect to be subpoena’d ( sic ).  I’m sure with an attorney and a couple years of billing time and publicity, along with the anti-police sentiment prevalent now – a jury would bless me with a great 6 figure compensation.”

Forchion asked for a response by Thursday but has yet to hear back from the city.

“I don’t even think the city can move fast enough,” said Forchion, who is a 12th congressional district candidate in November’s election.  “I think that the city is so dysfunctional.”

In the criminal case, Forchion was indicted on four counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, one count of distribution, one count of possession with the intent to distribute, one count of possession with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, one count of distribution within 1,000 feet of a school, one count of maintaining a narcotics nuisance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia with the intent to distribute and one count of maintaining a fortified structure.  Prosecutors said Forchion is also charged with possessing and distributing marijuana on additional dates in March and April in Trenton.

“I truly believe that I am conviction proof,” the marijuana activist said.  “I don’t believe Mr.  Onofri will get 12 people to say I’m guilty of violating the laws, the marijuana lies that we call laws.”

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom