New Jersey's lone ranger marijuana activist, Ed "New Jersey Weedman" Forchion is at it again. Forchion, a self-described Rastafarian, gained a certain notoriety for sparking up a joint in the New Jersey Senate chambers some years ago and again made the news in 2000 when he made an abortive attempt to apply for political asylum in Canada in the face of state marijuana charges. Forchion eventually came home and served 18 months in prison on the marijuana charges, but when he got out in April, he came out swinging. Now he has filed a $5 million lawsuit against several Burlington County Superior Court judges and an ex-girlfriend, charging that the judges and the ex-girlfriend, who is the mother of a child with Forchion, have denied him freedom of speech and freedom of religion in a child visitation case.
Forchion was arrested and briefly jailed in June for, as he told the Burlington Community News, "legally protesting outside the Burlington County Courthouse and giving interviews" to various newspapers about his pending case. He accused ex-girlfriend Linda Holden and Burlington County judges of using his religion against him as Forchion and Holden fought over visitation rights to six-year-old Ajanea Forchion.
"They won't let me see my daughter because I advocated legalizing marijuana," Forchion told the Trentonian as he leafleted outside the courthouse in late May.
Now Forchion has filed a $5 million lawsuit, arguing that as a Rastafarian he has a legal right to use marijuana and that his religious beliefs should not be held against him in the ongoing child visitation battle. At a time when courts routinely interpret parental drug use as evidence of parental unfitness, Forchion's battle could have far reaching consequences.