Medical marijuana patient wins employment discrimination suit in Rhode Island

 

This April 15, 2017 file photo shows marijuana plants on display at a medical marijuana provider in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

 

By Andrew Blake – The Washington Times – Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Rhode Island fabrics company violated the state’s medical marijuana law when it refused to hire a card-carrying patient who couldn’t pass a drug test, a state Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday.

Christine Callaghan sued Darlington Fabrics Corp. for compensatory and punitive damages in 2014 after the company said her medical marijuana usage precluded it from offering her a paid internship position while she pursued a master’s degree at the University of Rhode Island. Ms. Callaghan promised not to bring weed into the workplace or arrive for work stoned, but Darlington said her failure to pass a pre-employment drug test prohibited her hiring, according to court filings.

In a 32-page ruling Tuesday, Associate Justice Richard A. Licht said Darlington broke the state’s Hawkins-Slater Medical Marijuana Act by rejecting Ms. Callaghan because she legally uses pot to treat migraine headaches in accodance with state law.

“Employment is neither a right nor a privilege in the legal sense,” Judge Licht ruled, but protection under the law is, he added.

While employers aren’t required to accommodate the medical use of cannabis in the workplace under Hawkins-Slater, the ruling noted, the law specifies that “no school, employer or landlord may refuse to reenroll, employ or lease to or otherwise penalize, a person solely for his or her status as a cardholder.”

Darlington had argued that it rejected Ms. Callaghan not because her status as a medical marijuana cardholder but her inability to pass a drug test. The judge called his claim “incredulous” in Tuesday’s ruling and took aim at its interpretation of the state’s medical marijuana law.

“This argument is not convincing,” he wrote, adding: “…it is absurd to think that the General Assembly wished to extend less protection to those suffering with debilitating conditions and who are the focus of the [act].”

“The recreational user could cease smoking long enough to pass the drug test and get hired… allowing him or her to smoke recreationally to his or her heart’s content,” he continued. “The medical user, however, would not be able to cease for long enough to pass the drug test, even though his or her use is necessary…”

More than 17,000 Rhode Islanders are currently members of the state’s medical marijuana program, the Providence Journal reported. While most of those individuals are patients who use marijuana to treat covered medical conditions, that number also includes people categorized as official “caregivers,” the newspaper reported.

“This decision sends a strong message that people with disabilities simply cannot be denied equal employment opportunities because of the medication they take,” Carly Beauvais Iafrate, a volunteer American Civil Liberties Union attorney and Ms. Callaghan’s legal counsel, said in a statement after Tuesday’s ruling.

Darlington plans to appeal the ruling before the state Supreme Court, defense attorney Meghan Siket told the Journal. Neither the company nor its lawyer was immediately available to comment Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

Medical marijuana laws are currently on the books in 29 states and Washington, D.C., including Rhode Island, notwithstanding the federal government’s prohibition on pot.

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Tennessee House version of bill up for health subcommittee vote next week

Just days after being featured in a Leaf-Chronicle article, Dravet Syndrome sufferer Lexy Harris was in the ICU at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital following a series of severe seizures.

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Her mother, Felicia Harris, calls her, “a new face of the medical marijuana debate,” referring to Lexy Harris, 6, who suffers from intractable epileptic seizures as a result of Dravet Syndrome, currently being treated with other drugs.

The other anti-convulsant drugs the Harris family has tried – including experimental and non-FDA approved Stiripentol, which costs $2,000 a month – have a host of possible side effects, including damage to major organs and developmental delays, that parents of children with severe forms of pediatric epilepsy, along with many doctors, say are nearly as bad long-term as the disorders their children suffer from daily.

Recently, a derivative of marijuana called cannibidiol, or CBD, has shown promise as an alternative for treating seizures with fewer side effects, advocated for by renowned physicians, including Dr. Sanjay Gupta, formerly a steadfast opponent of medical marijuana use. However, though CBD does not cause a euphoric high like THC (tetrahydrocannibinol), the best-known and psycho-active component of marijuana, it is illegal in Tennessee.

Until very recently, Felicia had called Stiripentol her “miracle drug,” since it controlled Lexy’s seizures better than other prescriptions. Following a hellish week, she is no longer so sure. Now she intends to testify on behalf of medical marijuana before legislators next week on Tuesday, before the House health subcommittee votes on whether to allow H.B. 1385 before the full committee for another vote.

Hell week

Just days after a Leaf-Chronicle article about the medical marijuana debate in which Lexy’s situation was profiled, she was diagnosed as needing a wheelchair because her legs have become progressively weaker. Lab results showed that medications that Lexy was taking were harming her liver, requiring another medication to control the side effects. Her lowered metabolism, another side effect, required yet another prescription.

On the heels of that, Lexy experienced what Felicia called her most violent seizures ever. Lexy was rushed to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, where a day after being admitted, she was placed in the intensive care unit (ICU).

“She started having more violent seizures,” said Felicia. “She had a six-hour seizure in her sleep, very high fever and a tube in her nose to suction this crud from her lungs.”

Lexy was put on a feeding tube through her nose, and her medications were increased. Then she caught a common cold.

“The seizures multiplied,” Felicia said. “She aspirated on her own saliva, which brought on pneumonia and her lungs shut down. They had her on 20 liters of oxygen, the most ever, and her stats were still dropping.”

Lexy had previously been in intensive care due to her seizures and hospitalized repeatedly, but never longer than four days, said Felicia. As of Tuesday, Lexy had been in the ICU for seven days, eight days total at Vanderbilt.

On Tuesday, she woke up and began to seem better. Felicia is hopeful of being able to take her home by Thursday or Friday, but she is more afraid to take her home than at any previous time. And though CBD, which comes in an oil form and is not smoked, remains unproven through clinical testing, Felicia intends to fight for it in Tennessee, while contemplating a move to Colorado, as other Tennessee families of children with pediatric epilepsy have already done. She says she has had enough.

‘Enough is enough’

Penn Mattison, Tennessee father of a 2-year-old girl with an intractable pediatric epileptic condition, hit the wall along with his wife, Nicole, several months ago. The Mattisons are among several families that have already made the move to Colorado, where a high CBD-low THC strain of marijuana known as “Charlotte’s Web” is available.

Mattison was in Nashville on Wednesday, testifying before legislators once again, though he no longer lives in the state and is currently unemployed, as is his wife. He flew back using donations. He says he returns because of families like the Harrises who, being a military family, don’t have the ability to leave the state.

“Our hearts go out to the Harrises,” Mattison said in a phone interview on Wednesday after testifying before the full House committee on health. “It’s a tough situation, as my wife and I know only too well.”

The Mattison’s daughter, Millie, was diagnosed with infantile spasms at 3-months-old.

“She was having 300 seizures a day,” said Penn. “As she got older, she began having myoclonic (cluster) seizures along with the infantile spasms. We sought treatment at Vanderbilt, then Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, with some of the top specialists in pediatrics, genetics and neurology in the country.

“Name the treatment, we tried it. Nothing seemed to help. Last summer, Millie nearly died. Her kidneys shut down from the diet they had her on. After her last EEG (electroencephalogram, used to measure brain activity), the doctors wanted to up her pharmaceuticals, and we said, ‘Enough is enough.’

“We heard about the medical marijuana in Colorado, talked to the families using it there and we thought it was just time. Millie was not getting any better, and we had nothing to lose. In a matter of three weeks, we sold our business and we were gone.”

‘Whole-plant’ vs. CBD-only controversy

While Felicia Harris is considering asking Tennessee legislators to support CBD-only legislation to fast-track help for her daughter, like others have done in various states with pending medical marijuana legislation, Mattison rejects the idea.

“What we’re finding in pediatric epilepsy is that THC is needed in some cases more than previously thought,” Mattison said.

“That’s why I’m looking at states like Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky that are introducing CBD-only legislation where the CBD oil can only have three-tenths of one percent THC in it, and the fact is, that’s only going to help two percent of the patients they’re trying to help, and probably only a quarter of one percent of the total population that can be helped with medical cannabis.

“I think ‘whole-plant’ legislation is what is needed. I do realize that certain patients can be helped right away with a CBD-only bill, but it’s not fair to leave all the other patients out. I firmly believe that.”

Prognosis: Not good

Neither Mattison nor his friend, Doak Patton of the Tennessee chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) has much hope that H.B. 1385, the Koozman-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act, is going anywhere in 2014.

H.B. 1385 original sponsor Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) agrees the measure is a long way from passage, though she has some hope that it will emerge from the health subcommittee next week for a later vote of the full committee. But she said that a wholly negative image of marijuana is stuck in the heads of many of her fellow legislators in the House and Senate.

“They still think a 2 year-old is going to be smoking a joint,” she said in a phone interview late Wednesday evening.

She said that she is going to try to talk to three of the Republicans on the health subcommittee (the committee members are five Republican, three Democrat with a Republican chair) to see where they stand on the bill before they leave Nashville on Thursday evening.

“Right now,” said Jones, “I have three Democrats who are all for it and one Republican – but I can’t say his name – who could be number four. But he doesn’t want to be four, he would rather be number five. So I have to convince one of these other Republicans to help us get this out of the subcommittee.

“Then it goes to the full committe, and then it gets worse. They don’t understand. They don’t have a good reason. They want to talk about ‘dosing’ and kids smoking, but it’s not about any of that…”

‘Maybe next year’

Ten patients with various conditions ranging from epilepsy to cancer and traumatic brain injury/post-traumatic stress suffered in combat testified on Wednesday before the full committee. Next week’s presentation will be smaller prior to the subcommittee vote.

Jones said there were few questions asked, and that health subcommittee chair Barrett Rich (R-Somerville), who she said was definitely opposed, did not ask a single question.

“It was so sad to sit there and listen to all those people testify,” Jones said, “and know that there were legislators sitting there thinking they’re a bunch of terrible people because they want to use medical marijuana.”

Repeated attempts by The Leaf-Chronicle to contact Rich regarding H.B. 1385 went unanswered.

Said Jones, “I’m hopeful for the subcommittee anyway, but after that, we’ll see.

“If the Republicans would just poll their constituents, they would find at least 60 percent support this (the medical marijuana bill). But I expect them to maybe come back next year when one of them will sponsor it and maybe pass it then.”

A bill to legalize CBD oil passed out of a Kentucky State Senate subcommittee last week.

Philip Grey, 245-0719
Military affairs reporter
[email protected]
Twitter: @PhilipGrey_Leaf

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HERE ARE A FEW LINKS ON KENTUCKY’S CURRENT MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILLS!

 

February 27, 2014
3:10 p.m.

Medical marijuana bill passes House committee

A bill that would allow the use of medical marijuana by Kentuckians with certain medical conditions has cleared the House Health and Welfare Committee on a 9-5 vote.

If House Bill 350 becomes law, the use, distribution, and cultivation of medical marijuana would be permitted under Kentucky law to alleviate the symptoms of patients diagnosed by a medical provider with a debilitating medical condition. A licensing and registration system to allow the use, growth, and distribution of the drug would be established through protocols set out in HB 350, which is sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville.

To read more, click here.

 

Cannabis oil bill passes Senate committee

A measure that would legalize limited medical use of cannabis oil was approved by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee today.

Senate Bill 124, sponsored by Committee Chair Julie Denton, R-Louisville, and Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, would allow doctors at the state’s two university research hospitals to prescribe cannabis oil to patients.

Advocates of cannabis oil use say it is effective at treating certain health conditions, including epilepsy.

“This is going to open the door for some first steps on this issue,” Denton said.

SB 124 now goes to the full Senate for further action.

READ MORE HERE…

MORE IN DETAIL INFORMATION HERE…  (use search term:  medical marijuana)

KENTUCKY HOUSE BILL 350 *

KENTUCKY SENATE BILL 124 *

Please input the BILL number in the search on the website link and it will bring it up.

From the Mayo Clinic: Cannabis/Marijuana

Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)

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Evidence

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Chronic pain

Cannabinoids have been reported to reduce chronic pain associated with a variety of conditions. Cannabinoids have also been used in patients for whom other pain relief medications are not working. The active components in cannabis exert their effects on the central nervous system and immune cells. Cannabis is approved in some European countries and Canada. In the United States, it is an investigational drug for pain relief in cancer patients.
A

Multiple sclerosis (symptoms)

Research suggests that cannabinoids may improve some symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), specifically neuropathic pain, muscle spasms, and urinary symptoms.
A

Eczema

Early studies suggest that taking hemp seed oil by mouth may reduce symptoms of eczema, a skin rash also referred to as atopic dermatitis. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
C

Epilepsy

Early research suggests that epileptic patients may experience fewer seizures when taking cannabidiol (CBD) together with antiseizure medication. Further studies are required before a conclusion can be made.
C

Glaucoma (high fluid pressure inside the eye)

Glaucoma can result in optic nerve damage and blindness. Limited evidence suggests that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) taken under the tongue may reduce eye pressure. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
C

Huntington’s disease

Huntington’s disease is a degenerative nerve disorder associated with uncoordinated, jerky body movements and mental deterioration. Early studies suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) may not aid in reducing the severity of uncoordinated body movements associated with Huntington’s disease. Further studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
C

Insomnia

Limited research suggests that cannabidiol may improve sleep quality in those with insomnia (difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep). More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
C

Appetite/weight loss in cancer patients

Clinical studies have shown no effect of cannabis-based therapies in the treatment of weight loss associated with cancer. Further studies are necessary before a conclusion can be made.
D

Schizophrenia

In limited research, no effect of cannabidiol (CBD) was seen on symptoms of schizophrenia in patients for whom other treatments were not working. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
D

Key to grades
A Strong scientific evidence for this use
B Good scientific evidence for this use
C Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work)
F Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work)

 

Uses based on tradition or theory

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Acne, addiction, allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, angina (chest pain), angioedema (swelling under the skin), arthritis, antiaging, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anxiety prevention, appetite stimulant, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autoimmune diseases, bipolar disorder (mental disorder), blood thinner, bronchodilation (widens airways and eases breathing), burns, cancer, candidiasis (yeast infection), circulation improvement, constipation, cough, detoxification (removal of toxins), diabetes, digestive aid, diuretic (improves urine flow), dystonia (muscle disorder), energy metabolism, fatigue, gastric acid secretion stimulation (increases stomach acid), general health maintenance, genitourinary tract disorders (disorders of the reproductive and urinary systems), hair growth promoter, heart disease, high blood pressure, hormone regulation, immune suppression, increased muscle mass, increasing breast milk, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), intermittent claudication (pain in arms or legs due to inadequate oxygen), interstitial cystitis (bladder disorder), irregular heartbeat, leukemia (cancer of blood cells), lipid lowering (cholesterol and triglycerides), liver protection, lymph flow enhancement, menopausal symptoms, migraine, muscle relaxation, nausea and vomiting, nerve disorders, neural tube defects (birth defects), osteoporosis (bone loss), painful menstruation, pregnancy and labor, psychosis, rheumatism (joint disease), sedative, sexual performance, skin conditions, spinal cord injury, stomach spasms, stroke, tendonitis, uterine stimulant, varicose veins, vitamin C deficiency, weight gain (patients with HIV or cancer), wound healing.

 

Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

For nausea and vomiting, five milligrams/m 2 of body mass of dronabinol (Marinol®) has been taken by mouth before and after chemotherapy, for a total of 4-6 doses daily.

For weight loss and malnutrition associated with cancer, 2.5 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with or without one milligram of cannabidiol has been taken by mouth for six weeks.

For eczema, hemp seed oil has been taken by mouth for 20 weeks.

For chronic pain, 2.5-120 milligrams of cannabis has been taken by mouth in divided doses.

For epilepsy, 200-300 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) has been taken by mouth daily for up to 4.5 months.

For insomnia, 160 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) has been taken by mouth.

For symptoms of multiple sclerosis, 2.5-10 milligrams of dronabinol (Marinol®) has been taken by mouth daily for three weeks. Capsules containing 15-30 milligrams of cannabis extract has been taken by mouth for 14 days. Two and one-half milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), together with 0.9 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD), has been taken by mouth. Cannabinoid-based Sativex® mouth spray has been used at a dose of 2.5-120 milligrams in divided doses. Eight sprays in three hours and up to 48 sprays in 24 hours have been used.

For schizophrenia, 40-1,280 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) has been taken by mouth daily for up to four weeks.

For glaucoma (high fluid pressure in the eye), single doses of five milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or 40 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) placed under the tongue have been used.

Children (under 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for cannabis or cannabis-containing products in children.

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Justice Department uses prosecutorial discretion to seek decades in prison for legal Michigan cultivators

 

By ASA, Fri, September 28, 2012

Justice Department uses prosecutorial discretion to seek decades in prison for legal Michigan cultivators

 

article image

 

Detroit, MI — Five medical marijuana patients and caregivers will be sentenced in federal court next week, highlighting the human cost of the federal government’s intolerance for state medical marijuana laws.
Two medical marijuana caregivers from Monroe County who were convicted earlier this year in federal court will be sentenced at 3pm Monday, October 1st before U.S. District Court Judge David M. Lawson (231 W. Lafayette Blvd, Detroit). Gerald Lee Duval Jr., 52, and his son, Jeremy Duval, 30, were raided by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in 2011 and charged with felony cultivation, maintaining a place to cultivate marijuana, and conspiracy to distribute. In April, the Duvals were convicted at trial, the expected result of federal laws that prohibit any medical defense or reference to state law in front of juries.
“The Duvals’ case is another tragedy from President Obama’s war on medical marijuana,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group. “This type of enforcement is completely discretionary, unnecessary and far from the public health approach that medical marijuana patients deserve.” The Duvals face decades in prison despite no evidence of state law violations.
Days later, three more medical marijuana patients and caregivers will be sentenced in federal court in Michigan. Around the same time federal agents were raiding the Duvals, officers with the Central Michigan Enforcement Team (CMET) and the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department raided the Austin Township home and other property of John Marcinkewciz, 42, and Shelley Waldron, 42. Marcinkewciz, Waldron and Jaycob Montague, 26, were originally charged under state law with cultivation and conspiracy to cultivate, but prosecutors soon turned their cases over to the federal Justice Department, where the three had no chance of defending themselves against federal law. Marcinkewciz, Waldron and Montague all subsequently took plea bargains in May.
Waldron and Montague are scheduled to be sentenced at 8:45am on October 4th before Judge Robert Bell in U.S. District Court at 110 Michigan Street NW, Grand Rapids. Marcinkewciz is scheduled to be sentenced at 8:45am on October 5th before the same judge. In spite of the plea bargains, the three medical marijuana providers still face decades in prison.
“The federal raids and prosecutions in Michigan are unfortunately only an example of the broader aggressive campaign by the Obama Administration to undermine state medical marijuana laws,” continued Sherer. As with the Duval raid, DEA agents commonly burst onto the scene wearing full body armor and wielding machine guns in a clear attempt to intimidate. Despite claims by the president that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws,” Obama’s Justice Department has conducted more than 200 SWAT-style raids and indicted well over 70 medical marijuana patients and providers since he took office.
A federal lawsuit to force the DEA to reclassify marijuana for medical use will be heard by the D.C. Circuit on October 16th. The case Americans for Safe Access v. DEA is bringing the science of medical marijuana into federal court for the first time in nearly 20 years. If marijuana were reclassified, the five people being sentenced in Michigan would be entitled to a medical defense, a right they are now denied.

 

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NJ Weedman – Ed Forchion Burlington County Trial

Ed

Ed "NJWeedman" Forchion court verdict: Ed "NJWeedman" Forchion talks before and after the verdict is read in his Burlington County jury trial on charges of marijuana possession and possession with intent to distribute.

 

MOUNT HOLLY — A jury convicted medical marijuana activist Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion of possession Wednesday, but could not reach a verdict on the more weighty charge of distribution.

Following the verdict announcement in Superior Court in Mount Holly, an uncharacteristically agitated Forchion, dressed in a white T-shirt with a green cannabis leaf pictured inside the O of the letters LOVE, challenged an assistant Burlington County prosecutor that he would be ready for a retrial on the distribution charge.

“If he thinks he can get me again, let’s go,” Forchion told Judge Charles Delehey in regards to Assistant Prosecutor Michael Luciano. “I would go tomorrow.”

Forchion, who is representing himself, shot down his court-appointed lawyer’s plan to file a motion to have the court dismiss the possession with intent to distribute charge, saying angrily that the process would only delay the resolution of his case. The motion would have had to have been heard before a new trial could begin on the outstanding charge.

“I’m stuck here broke,” Forchion said. “I want to get this over with.”

Forchion, 47, grew up in the Browns Mills section of Pemberton Township but later opened a medical marijuana dispensary in California. He was arrested in April 2010 when he returned to New Jersey to visit his children and was stopped in Mount Holly with a pound of pot in his trunk.

Since then, Forchion has heavily promoted his case in an effort to further argue against New Jersey’s marijuana laws.

“This is bigger than me,” Forchion said while waiting for the jury’s verdict Wednesday. “I’m not in here just fighting for me.

“It’s the cause. I’m on the side of righteousness here.”

In his opening arguments last week, Forchion boldly proclaimed to the jury that the stash of pot was his but he maintained that he never had any intent to peddle his “medicine” to others.

During the trial, experts from both sides presented their opinions as to whether there was evidence that Forchion was intending to distribute the pot.

CONTINUE READING STORY…

Reach George Mast at (856) 486-2465 or [email protected]

NJ Weedman – Ed Forchion Burlington County Trial

Ed

Ed "NJWeedman" Forchion court verdict: Ed "NJWeedman" Forchion talks before and after the verdict is read in his Burlington County jury trial on charges of marijuana possession and possession with intent to distribute.

 

MOUNT HOLLY — A jury convicted medical marijuana activist Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion of possession Wednesday, but could not reach a verdict on the more weighty charge of distribution.

Following the verdict announcement in Superior Court in Mount Holly, an uncharacteristically agitated Forchion, dressed in a white T-shirt with a green cannabis leaf pictured inside the O of the letters LOVE, challenged an assistant Burlington County prosecutor that he would be ready for a retrial on the distribution charge.

“If he thinks he can get me again, let’s go,” Forchion told Judge Charles Delehey in regards to Assistant Prosecutor Michael Luciano. “I would go tomorrow.”

Forchion, who is representing himself, shot down his court-appointed lawyer’s plan to file a motion to have the court dismiss the possession with intent to distribute charge, saying angrily that the process would only delay the resolution of his case. The motion would have had to have been heard before a new trial could begin on the outstanding charge.

“I’m stuck here broke,” Forchion said. “I want to get this over with.”

Forchion, 47, grew up in the Browns Mills section of Pemberton Township but later opened a medical marijuana dispensary in California. He was arrested in April 2010 when he returned to New Jersey to visit his children and was stopped in Mount Holly with a pound of pot in his trunk.

Since then, Forchion has heavily promoted his case in an effort to further argue against New Jersey’s marijuana laws.

“This is bigger than me,” Forchion said while waiting for the jury’s verdict Wednesday. “I’m not in here just fighting for me.

“It’s the cause. I’m on the side of righteousness here.”

In his opening arguments last week, Forchion boldly proclaimed to the jury that the stash of pot was his but he maintained that he never had any intent to peddle his “medicine” to others.

During the trial, experts from both sides presented their opinions as to whether there was evidence that Forchion was intending to distribute the pot.

CONTINUE READING STORY…

Reach George Mast at (856) 486-2465 or [email protected]

Marijuana activist ‘NJWeedman’ convicted of pot possession, jury hung on distribution charge

By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, May 10, 6:37 AM

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — Jurors in New Jersey have delivered a mixed verdict at the trial of a marijuana activist who lives in California and goes by the name “NJWeedman.”

The panel in Mount Holly on Wednesday convicted Ed Forchion of possession of one pound of pot in the trunk of his car. However, they could not reach a verdict on whether he intended to distribute it.

The 47-year-old moved to Los Angeles several years ago to run a medical marijuana dispensary. He was arrested during a traffic stop in April 2010.

He could not use New Jersey’s medical marijuana law as a defense.

Forchion told The Courier-Post of Cherry Hill (http://on.cpsj.com/JhKWmV ) he was happy he didn’t get thrown in jail while he awaits a retrial for the distribution charge.

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Information from: Courier-Post, http://www.courierpostonline.com/