Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion announced a virtual smoke out protest will be held at his Joint café on New Year’s Eve before it will be a “Citizen’s Dispensary”.
The New Year’s Eve ‘joint’ jam will celebrate the official opening of his citizen’s dispensary on January 1, 2021 at his storefront location across the street from Trenton City Hall. He has been selling weed there for some time.
“On January 1, 2021 I am officially setting up shop,” said Forchion. “The bottom line for me is that vendors like me have been servicing marijuana users for decades and we don’t plan to stop now. I consider my time served in prison my licensing fee to participate in the marijuana marketplace.”
Forchion is inviting lovers of all-inclusive legalization to light up with him as they bring in the New Year in high celebration. The live event will be limited in capacity due to COVID restrictions but will stream online for free.
Cannabis officially becomes legal on January 1, 2021 in New Jersey. What that means though has to be determined. There likely will be no legal sales of adult-use cannabis on New Year’s Day since the medical dispensaries do not have capacity to handle that right now.
The legislature is slated for a final vote on the legalization implementation legislation tomorrow on December 17th unless it has to be moved to cope with the pending blizzard.
The issue of whether former underground entrepreneurs like NJWeedman can participate in the market has come up several times in the debate. Some are welcoming them in the market, provided they comply with regulations. The issue is that underground cannabis trafficking will still be illegal if an individual is not complying with the law.
NJWeedman’s Many Protests
NJWeedman continues to engage in civil disobedience, campaigning for the underserved and marginalized sectors of the cannabis community.
“As an activist, I feel like I have come full circle now,” Forchion said. “What I have been shouting about for decades, been terrorized by the police, prosecutors, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for, and prosecuted by the law for, has now come to fruition.”
NJWeedman and his partner, Debi Madaio are always turning heads vocalizing their stance in New Jersey’s weed politics. Madaio launched a Change.org petition requesting that Governor Phil Murphy grant NJWeedman’s Joint a recreational cannabis license.
“Marijuana is being recognized as legal around the country. But now, guys like me who paved this path are being cut of the business,” NJWeedman said. “Legalization in New Jersey doesn’t include felons like me. Black market dealers like me will still be criminalized while a new corporate culture capitalizes on the sale of cannabis. We got jail cells while they come in and get to sell!”
In the wake of pending legalization, Forchion has taken am aggressive stance, suing the State of New Jersey, (Case 3:20-cv-16582-PGS-TJB FORCHION v. MURPHY. He is accusing the state of bait and switch laws which in his opinion led New Jersey citizens into voting for the legalization of a corporate, Caucasian-run cannabis industry, under the guise of legalizing marijuana.
Forchion, who once owned and operated the Liberty Bell Temple, a popular cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles has been a pioneer of legalization for three decades. In addition to serving almost 1200 days in jail for his advocacy, he once held legendary smoke out celebrations at numerous mansions throughout the Hollywood Hills between 2009 and 2011.