Newsbrief: New Jersey Weedman Still Jailed for Thought Crime 12/6/02

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Ed Forchion, also known as the New Jersey Weedman, remains behind bars in New Jersey for advocating reform of the state's marijuana laws. Forchion, who received a 10-year prison sentence for marijuana distribution, had done his prison time and was out on parole when New Jersey parole authorities threw him back in jail. His offense? Taping a pair of public service announcements advocating changes in the marijuana laws and talking about them to the local press. The ads were never even aired, but Forchion has been rotting in the Burlington County Jail as a "parole violator" ever since August.

A hearing Wednesday before a three-judge Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) panel could have freed Forchion, but the judges adjourned without reaching a decision or scheduling a new hearing. Attorneys for the ISP parole program presented a laundry list of other alleged parole violations -- none of them crimes -- but it has been clear from the beginning that Forchion's real crime was daring to voice his opinion of the marijuana laws.

Thomas Bartlett, a regional supervisor for the ISP, testified that Forchion agreed not to advocate the use of marijuana as one of the 30 conditions of his entry to the program. But Forchion, acting as his own attorney with assisting counsel present, challenged Bartlett during cross-examination. He had not advocated the use of marijuana, said Forchion, but changes in the drug laws. He asked Bartlett whether convicts have First Amendment rights:

"Do you believe the First Amendment does not apply to convicted felons?" he asked Bartlett.

"I believe you entered a voluntary program and agreed to abide by the conditions of that program," Bartlett said.

"I enrolled in the program, I wish to remain in the program, but the program has treated me in a very unconstitutional manner," Forchion replied, adding that he had never failed a drug test while in the program.

Visit to find out more about the New Jersey Weedman or assist in his defense.

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Issue #266, 12/6/02 DRCNet Needs Your Help! | Editorial: Crimes and Minor Accidents | MPP Files Complaints Charging Drug Czar Violated Election Laws | Wisconsin Rave Rebellion: Racine in the Hot Seat as Hundreds Demand Trial on Bogus Bust at Electronic Music Benefit Concert | Bye, Bye, Asa: DEA Chief to Leave for Homeland Security Gig, Will Be Replaced by Career Narcocrat | The Lone Horseman: Texas Ex-Cop Hits the Trail for Marijuana Legalization | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: Radical Party Anti-Prohibitionist Wins European of the Year in European Voice Magazine Online Vote | Newsbrief: Study Says Terminal Patients Don't Get Adequate Pain Treatment | Newsbrief: New Jersey Weedman Still Jailed for Thought Crime | Newsbrief: Study Says Few Medical Marijuana Users, Little Impact on Law Enforcement -- Feds, Some Cops Disagree | Newsbrief: Study Says "Gateway Theory" is Bunk | Newsbrief: US Accuses North Korea of Drug Trafficking | Newsbrief: Illinois Prosecutors Use Ecstasy Law to Charge Partiers With Murder | Newsbrief: Canadian House Panel Will Call for Cannabis Decriminalization, Newspaper Says | Newsbrief: Swiss Marijuana Potency Becomes an Issue | Newsbrief: Pennsylvania Set to Increase Ecstasy Dealing Penalties | Anniversary of Alcohol Prohibition | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar

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