Pubdate: Tue, 26 May 2015
Source: Trentonian, The (NJ)
Copyright: 2015 The Trentonian
Author: Penny Ray


TRENTON - Marijuana activist and Trentonian columnist Ed Forchion has 
leased two adjoining East State Street properties and will soon open 
a restaurant and spiritual sanctuary.

"I'm obviously catering to the cannabis consuming community in the 
area, but I also I want to tap into the artsy crowd here in Trenton," 
Forchion said.

The properties, located directly across the street from City Hall, 
will be named NJ Weedman's Joint and Liberty Bell Temple III. The 
business is scheduled to open June 15, but on Monday afternoon about 
a dozen people were gathered at the restaurant as a chef cooked 
turkey burgers and Forchion explained his vision. The restaurant 
portion of the business will open at 6 a.m. on weekdays and serve 
affordable, healthy food, Forchion said. The menu will not offer any 
pork or beef, and will feature items such as sushi, pasta, fish, 
chicken, roasted vegetable platters, healthy soups, fruit platters, 
fresh sandwich wraps and more. There will also be a vegetarian menu, 
Forchion said, and the restaurant will offer natural energy drinks 
such as fruit smoothies, breakfast shakes and blended juices.

"When I talk to state workers, they say they're missing that healthy, 
affordable food option here in the capital city," Forchion said. "I 
have bone cancer, so part of the reason a restaurant is important to 
me is because it gives me an opportunity to eat healthier. I'm going 
to invite cancer patients and other people struggling with health 
issues to eat here every day."

Forchion hired Chef Maurice Wair, who has 18 years of cooking 
experience and is also a personal trainer.

"I was 247 lbs. and I dropped down to 185 when I started eating 
healthier," Wair said. "Healthy eating is so essential. You are what you eat."

Forchion and Wair plan to offer a meal called the "Writ of Habeas 
Corpus" to attract attorneys, judges and other law enforcement 
personnel to the restaurant.

"The Writ is going to be a five-star meal without the five-star 
price," Forchion said. "I'm right next door to a federal courthouse, 
and I want the prosecutors and other attorneys to come check us out."

The property next to the restaurant will be what Forchion describes 
as "Weed bucks" during the day, and after business hours it will 
become the Liberty Bell Temple III. The sanctuary, which can seat 
approximately 15 people, will include free WiFi; and Forchion plans 
to stock and serve Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and Bob Marley Coffee 
blends. Forchion plans to have a door constructed between the two 
properties before the grand opening so patrons can walk between the 
restaurant and sanctuary without leaving the building. The sanctuary 
will also become the new broadcast studio for Forchion's radio show:

"There will be a lot of peace and love, and this will be a place 
where people can network," Forchion said.

The restaurant and sanctuary soon to open on East State Street is not 
Forchion's first attempt at running a business. He opened and 
operated the first two Liberty Bell temples while living in Los 
Angeles, California. The second temple closed in 2011 after the U.S. 
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided the property. Forchion 
has a partner who helped him start the business here in Trenton, and 
they also received donations from marijuana activists throughout the 
state as well as across the country, Forchion said.

"I've been to other states that have these types of places and it's 
finally good to know that we will have one here in New Jersey," Wayne 
Burrini, a medical marijuana patient who stopped by the restaurant 
Monday, said.

Forchion said the business will not sell marijuana. The restaurant is 
fully operational now, but the health inspector isn't scheduled to 
visit until next week. Between now and the grand opening, Forchion 
said, the restaurant will randomly give away food samples to city 
workers who stop by the business.

"For my New Years resolution I said that I wanted to open up the 
Liberty Bell Temple III and that's what I've been working on for the 
past few months," Forchion said. "In the state of New Jersey, there 
are approximately 5,000 medical marijuana patients who I am hoping 
will come here whenever they visit Trenton."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom