Pubdate: Wed, 12 Oct 2005
Source: Home News Tribune (NJ)
Copyright: 2005 Home News Tribune
Author: Jonathan Tamari


TRENTON - In the past, Edward Forchion has run for office to promote
the legalization of marijuana.

This year, he is taking a more extreme stance in his bid for

"This time it's a whole angrier thing," said Forchion, 41. "I'm openly
advocating that my whole reason for running for office is to
specifically give the finger to the attorney general, the Republicans
and the Democrats."

Forchion, of Browns Mills in Pemberton Township, is angry over being
jailed for five months in late 2002 for filming ads advocating the
legalization of marijuana while he was on probation for possession and
intent to distribute the drug.

He had served 16 months of a 10-year sentence before his

A federal judge ultimately ruled the arrest for the videos was a
violation of his free speech rights. Forchion hopes his candidacy -
and its surrounding publicity - will stick it to state and federal

And if he's elected?

"I'd pardon every single pothead that was arrested. I'd do that all
day," said Forchion. "I'm a news junkie. I could talk about a lot of
things, but for the sake of this campaign, I am openly advocating for
all the potheads."

Forchion, who once tried to change his legal name to so
that judges would have to call him "Mr. Weedman," has long promoted
the legalization of marijuana and believes it should be allowed on
free speech grounds, saying it is tied to his Rastafari religion.

"You don't have to smoke marijuana to believe that you shouldn't be
put in a cage for smoking marijuana," Forchion said. "The weedman in
every community is providing a service. . . . The fact of the matter
is, we, the people, want drugs."

Although his stance would surely qualify him as soft on crime in many
voters' eyes, Forchion insists that he is a conservative.

"To be a conservative you have to believe that the government should
not be dictating your life," Forchion said. "All these conservatives
who support the war on drugs are hypocrites."

Forchion has had many brushes with the law, several stemming from
publicity stunts, including a citation while smoking at the Liberty
Bell and being escorted from the New Jersey Statehouse after lighting
up in the balcony of the Assembly. He said police have frequently
chased him away while he campaigns, including an incident in which he
was refused access to press row in the Statehouse.

His first dose of censorship, he said, was in his Waterford high
school yearbook, where his quote "We smoke pot, we drink brew, we're
the class of '82," was left out.

For now, Forchion has temporarily stopped smoking marijuana for his
truck-driving job, but he said it is only "a temporary

In what he said is likely his last run for New Jersey office, Forchion
hopes ads on cable channels like Comedy Central and music channels
will draw young voters. But he said the constant battles with the law
have worn him down.

"This is my last hurrah. I've been doing this for like, eight or nine
years now, I'm still a one-man gang. I've never been able to spark the
reefer revolution," Forchion said. "I've kind of lost my fire."
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