A former Pemberton Township resident, Forchion, who lives and operates a medical marijuana dispensary in California, submitted his brief Friday in Superior Court in Burlington County, where he is fighting criminal charges for possession of marijuana.
In his brief, which is more than 80 pages, Forchion raises several issues, including that New Jersey should no longer classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, like cocaine or heroin, since its medicinal value has been recognized.
Forchion claims the criminal possession laws and medical marijuana statute are contradictory and therefore unconstitutional. He also argues that, as an approved medical marijuana user in California, he should not have been charged because he uses the drug for “medical necessity.”
Forchion said if he is successful on the merits of his brief, he could not only put the criminal case to rest, but also change how the state’s medical and criminal marijuana laws are enforced.
New Jersey became the 14th state to legalize medical marijuana in January 2010. Patients would access marijuana grown and distributed through state-monitored dispensaries.
A Burlington County grand jury indicted Forchion in August on third-degree possession with the intent to distribute and fourth-degree possession of drug paraphernalia. In October, he pleaded not guilty.
He readily admits that he had about a pound of marijuana in the trunk of his rental car April 1, when police stopped him on Route 38 in Mount Holly for rolling through a red light. The Rastafarian said he had the drugs for his own spiritual and medicinal purposes.
Forchion contends that New Jersey’s medical marijuana law is too restrictive to help many patients.
He has been in self-styled “political exile” from New Jersey since 2008. While he maintains a legal residence in Pemberton, he lives and works in California.
Forchion runs the Liberty Bell Temple on Hollywood Boulevard, a state-registered medical marijuana clinic where he legally sells pot and claims to run the only Rastafarian ministry in Los Angeles.
“I’m looking forward to my upcoming trial. … I’m looking forward to a triumphant victory,” he said.
Forchion is due back in court in June before Superior Court Judge Charles Delehey.
via : phillyBurbs
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