Edward “NJWeedman” Forchion is running for Governor of New Jersey on the Legalize Marihuana Party with the slogan “#HOMEGROW $ALL.”
The New Jersey Democratic State Committee successfully challenged NJWeedman’s position on the ballot. Nonetheless, he is still running.
“I did not bail out of the Gubernatorial race. I just withdrew my petition to be placed on the ballot,” NJWeedman said. “Write me in as NJWeedman Homegrow for all.”
Seasoned politicians enlist many others to secure sufficient signatures to avoid this.
NJWeedman acknowledged he is running to promote these issues.
“I want to be able to argue publicly for the inclusion of the existing market,” he said regarding his candidacy.
He lamented that many people failed to provide their address which meant that their signature was not valid. Forchion acknowledged that his Miami venture distracted him.
Forchion prefers to spell marijuana with an “h” because in 1937 when cannabis was first made illegal in the United States, it was called “marihuana” with an “h” by the federal government. It is rarely spelled with an “h.” Those who sought to make cannabis illegal called it “marijuana” to galvanize racists who hated Mexican Americans who smoked “marijuana.”
NJWeedman’s Legalize Marihuana Platform
NJWeedman has run for Freeholder (now Commissioner) Assembly, Congress, U.S. Senate, and Governor numerous times on the “Legalize Marihuana” party that he founded.
“I never have really thought I would win. I ran solely to present a certain argument,” NJWeedman said.
NJWeedman supports the personal cultivation of cannabis for medical and adult-use. He is optimistic about the progress being made on the issue but nonetheless wanted to highlight it.
“Homegrow goes against the big corporate guys,” he noted. NJWeedman argued thousands are likely growing already.
His main campaign platform plank is the inclusion of the underground market in legalization as it currently exists.
“I just want the law to look at me being legal,” NJWeedman said. “I don’t want to be part of the corporate distribution system.”
Setting up a Just Industry
“I don’t want to buy any weed from the corporations. Legalization in New Jersey means everyone has to buy marijuana from the 37 licensed growers, and those 37 only,” he said.
There will indeed be a cap on large-scale cultivation licenses for two years. However, there will be no cap on micro license cultivation. Forchion is skeptical about the process by which the micro licenses will be approved.
The Jake Honig Act of 2019, signed into law 23 months ago, authorized the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), micro licenses, and home delivery. As of yet, no micro licenses have been issued, nor has home delivery started. The CRC had its first meeting in April.
Medical cannabis in New Jersey remains too expensive for a regularly mediocre product compared to cannabis bought from underground entrepreneurs. While some go without, many others go to the underground market for their medicine.
“I’m refusing to be a slave to that. I want to grow my own. Or buy weed from my own source,” he said.
NJWeedman is very skeptical about the social justice provisions included in the legalization referendum implementation bill after many advocates made their voices heard. NJ CRC Chair Dianna Houenou has said she is in favor of underground entrepreneurs receiving licenses. That would mean they would comply with the law. Several gifting entrepreneurs have said privately they would comply with the law if they received a license.
However, Forchion said that complying with regulations would make people like him “slaves to plantation owners.”
“Damn right, I don’t want to comply with the losers,” he said. “If they don’t think I won, put me on trial for selling weed. I don’t think New Jersey can get 12.”
In a formal trial, a jury of 12 needs to make a unanimous decision to convict someone. NJWeedman has been arguing the government would have trouble finding a jury of 12 to vote unanimously to convict him for trafficking. Given that 67 percent of New Jersey voted for the referendum, he might be right.
“The black market, we have a distribution system already,” he noted. “Why do we have to buy it from these guys?” he asked.
While the formal market’s rules won’t be released till August, “the black market weed growers are getting in stride right now here in New Jersey,” he said. “We’re getting capital. We don’t have the threat of arrests now.”
Fighting Corporate Cannabis
“The law was written by and for these big corporations,” he said. “As far I’m concerned, they’re my adversary,” Forchion said regarding the established dispensaries. He said they donated to both Democrats and Republicans to have a market that favors them become law.
He noted that complying with regulation restrictions makes him subject to having a weak crop in New Jersey hurt his business when quality cannabis cannot be legally imported from another state.
While skeptical of the legitimate adult-use market being created, the idea of a legacy market amnesty program for weed dealers interested him.
“That may be a means for guys like me to get into this new market that they’re creating,” he said.
Weedman said it would be difficult to comply with regulations if he had to shut down his operation until he received a license to operate legally.
“I prefer the free market system,” he said. However, “I’m not slamming doors.”