Marijuana activist loses bid to overturn drug conviction
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- A state appellate court has rejected a New Jersey marijuana activist's bid to overturn a drug possession conviction.
Edward Forchion, who calls himself NJ Weedman, had argued that he uses marijuana for medical reasons. He also claimed, among numerous other arguments, that criminalizing the drug violated his religious freedom as a Rastafarian.
But in a 31-page decision issued Friday, the appellate court rejected his arguments.
Forchion told NJ.com that he plans to ask the state Supreme Court to consider his case, though it wasn't clear Sunday when that might happen.
Forchion, a sometimes political candidate and longtime marijuana activist who has held several pro-pot rallies near the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton in recent years, was arrested by state police in April 2010 after authorities said he ran a red light on Route 38 in Burlington County. According to court documents, a trooper arrested Forchion after smelling burned marijuana in the car and finding drug paraphernalia.
Forchion disputed the allegations and claimed he was the victim of an illegal search.
Authorities said they found about a pound of marijuana in a suitcase discovered in the trunk of the car. Forchion has said the drug was for his personal use, noting that he has a medical marijuana card from California.
Forchion was found guilty of possessing marijuana, but eventually was cleared of possessing the drug with intent to distribute.