“We had slavery, and then we had the Jim Crow laws, and I think the successor to those two ways of putting down the black man in America is the war on drugs.”

“We had slavery, and then we had the Jim Crow Laws, and

I think the successor to these two ways of putting down the black man in America is the war on

drugs.”- Bill Maher

Edward Forchion, honorably discharged veteran and bone cancer patient decided to open a restaurant that offered healthy fare, employment, and a sanctuary from Trenton’s violent streets. The restaurant is NJ Weedman’s Joint and is one of the places not boarded up in New Jersey’s post-apocalyptic Trenton.

You would imagine Trenton would rush to embrace Forchion with open arms but instead of offering tax breaks and other perks, Trenton is trying to imprison him, destroy his automobile, and take away his livelihood.

“I thought [the restaurant] was a gold mine but [Trenton and Mercer County] have practically ruined my business. People are afraid to come here now.

Forchion is referring to April 27, when authorities raided his restaurant Joint and his adjacent cannabis church, the Liberty Bell Temple.

The raid netted a bag of cannabis edibles, six ounces of cannabis, and the place’s share money of $19,000 dollars. The amount of cannabis and money was not excessive considering eleven people were there.

A medical marijuana patient caught up in the raid was brought to police headquarters and held for eight hours until his medical patient qualifications was verified.

Now Forchion has to go to court October 3 to answer possession and distribution charges as well as maintaining a fortified structure.

Trenton charged Forchion with maintaining a fortified structure because he had cameras on his premises. A fortified structure is supposed to apply to a place where narcotics are being dealt.

“It is only enforced in the inner cities,” Forchion said, “It started in the 1980s with the Crack [Epidemic] when you had people in boarded up houses.”

As a proprietor in an area with much crime, Forchion would be wise to have cameras to monitor his premises.

How many houses do we know in affluent neighborhoods that have security cameras? Many, and yet none are charged with violating this nebulous statute.

And what was the impetus for this latest round of harassment? Allegations of selling chicken wings after 11 pm. No exaggeration.

In late February, Forchion was filming for a reality show when police told him he had to close at 11 pm. Forchion said the restaurant was indeed closed but the Temple was still open.

This triggered police taking his files from a DVR Hard drive and never giving it back.

Then just a couple weeks after the successful and peaceful Cannabash in April, the first ever celebration of New Jersey cannabis culture, the police raid the Temple, in a move similar to invading a church or a synagogue. Forchion is a practicing Rastafarian who had a similar religious temple in Los Angeles.

This is clearly another victim in our country’s most pernicious war, the War on Drugs.

For Forchion has been fighting for decades on the frontlines of the drug war. There has been jail time (10 years reduced to 17 months) and he has had his freedom of speech violated (court case won in federal court). He even had to flee New Jersey and seek asylum in California for a while.

“I poked a bear and they poked back, “said Forchion.

Visit NJ Weedman’s website and if you are near Trenton, definitely stop by the restaurant. You will love the bumble chicken and the dirty rice will ensure a return visit.

Authored by Michael Jospeh

 


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