Weedman wants your help replacing the ‘Weedmobile’
The video above from NJ Weedman's YouTube channel
TRENTON — Ed Forchion — the pro-pot activist popularly known as NJ Weedman — is turning to the public for help replacing his infamous "Weedmobile" — the 1986 Ford E-150 emblazoned with pro-marijuana art he says fell victim to his ongoing legal battle with Trenton police.
"Trenton police called Forchion’s weedmobile an 'irritant,' and it was reduced to a hunk of metal after Forchion got into a pissing contest with Trenton Police Captain Gonzales over hours of operation," Forchion wrote on an Indiegogo fundraiser page hoping to collect about $7,500 to replace the vehicle.
As of Sunday, the fundraiser had only collected $205, from seven backers.
The Weedmobile makes as much of a statement as its owner does. As recounted in a Trentonian article in August, Forchion "gave a famous Los Angeles graffiti artist $300 cash, an ounce of weed and an expensive bong to paint a political statement on the side of his 'Weedmobile' in 2008."
That statement? The NJ Weedman blowing smoke into Uncle Sam's face.
“Just like (Douglas) MacArthur rode the submarine back from the Philippines, I felt the same way about the van,” the article quotes Forchion saying.
Forchion alleges police destroyed the vehicle after confiscating it during a raid in April. That operation resulted in the arrest of 11 people, including Forchion, and the seizure of about $19,000 in marijuana, officials said Thursday. Numerous heavily armed cops and SWAT team members responded to Forchion’s "Joint,"an eatery with an attached operatoin Forchion describes as a "marijuana temple" located across the street from City Hall.
Forchion was charged with several drug offenses after the raid. He later rejected a plea deal, saying he would not be "bribed out of my right to a fair trial."
In August, Forchion called into the Deminski and Doyle show on New Jersey 101.5, telling the hosts he believed the police sent his vehicle to a crusher out of "spite."
"The Institute for Justice thinktank gave New Jersey a D- for our forfeiture laws, especially noting that here the authorities are allowed to seize and keep people’s property in the absence of a criminal conviction," Deminski wrote in his reflections on that conversation. "Its report claims $72 million in forfeitures by county prosecutors in a five-year period."
Weedman had told the Trentonian and D&D he found out the Weedmobile was destroyed from the owner of Hawk’s Towing and Recovery. Forchion had 20 days to pick it up, after which it was considered abandoned, that owner told the Trentonian. Police have not commented publicly on the van's fate.
"Can you imagine the police destroying your vehicle because they don't like the images displayed on it? That's what happened to NJWeedman's and we like to ask you to support the re-creation of this iconic symbol of freedom," Forchion wrote on his Indigogo page.
Forchion's history with Trenton police
The raid this spring was just one part of Forchion's ongoing legal battle with Trenton and Mercer authorities.
The raid itself followed another legal confrontation between Forchion and Trenton officials — in March, the city closed down the Joint for several days citing city ordinances barring certain business from operating late at night. Forchion responded by filing a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming the city was violating his religious freedom.
He argued the “Kannabosum Kourtyard” provides a sanctuary where members of his temple can relax “away from the government-inspired ‘war on drugs’ and the problems the government creates on the streets with its asinine drug policies.”
“Our temple is an alternative religious organization that keeps night hours,” Forchion wrote in his suit. “We cater to the late-night congregation. We are not a business, but a temple.”
A judge has ruled that he can proceed with that suit.
Days after Forchion stood outside his eatery and pot temple shouting “f— the police!” and calling one of the police officers a “pedophile,” this spring, he was charged with cyber-harassment and disorderly conduct in connection to a video that appeared online.
A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey called the charges “pretty ridiculous.”
— With prior reporting by Sergio Bichao and Louis C. Hochman
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