Friday, July 30, 2010

NJWeedman's Liberty Bell Temple Raided by Police

NJWeedman's Liberty Bell Temple
Raided by Police

D|R Welch Attorneys at Law P.C.
to  Provide Defense

Lawsuit Filed in Los Angeles Superior Court

Hollywood, CA - On Tuesday, July 14, 2010,  Ed Forchion aka NJWeedman reports he was robbed at gunpoint by the Los Angeles Police Department in his Liberty Bell Temple.  The Liberty Bell Temple, located at 5642 Hollywood Blvd, is a Rastafarian Temple that services the needs of The Rastafarian Community.  Not listed among a posting of medical marijuana dispensaries subject to recent closure, Forchion states he was falsely charged with a misdemeanor city code (LAMC - for failing to cease operations.  Noting that nothing in the code calls for a seizure of property, Forchion reveals that the LAPD confiscated three pounds of medical marijuana, almost $7,000 of supplies and all the cash on the premises. 
Liberty Bell Temple Raid
Liberty Bell Temple raid
The Temple staff was handcuffed and Forchion, alongside his partner, Charquant Leyou, were arrested and jailed. Forchion, who is represented by Attorney David Welch from D|R Welch Attorneys at Law P.C. has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior alleging deprivation of the right to practice Rastafari without due process of law.  The defendant is also seeking a court order preventing authorities from interfering with their ability to operate their temple.                

A self proclaimed exile, activist and former political prisoner, Forchion originally  relocated to California just a few years ago to enjoy the benefits of the state's more relaxed marijuana laws, per the passage of the Prop. 215 Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and SB420.  Better known as NJWeedman, the celebrity activist has received international media attention, publicly touting California as the forefront of what he perceives to be "the reefer revolution."  The recent raid has not only saddened, but confused him.  Only months ago, the same Los Angeles Police Department was instrumental in securing his grow room operation back from a landlord who tried to steal his plants - .

"I left the restrictive confines of the state of New Jersey to enjoy a new found freedom here in California. Per my now famous Hollywood Hemp Mansion Parties, I have been trying to live a good life and leave behind my days of activism, but this new assault on my rights now leaves me no choice but to battle coast to coast!" cites Forchion.

"If the city was serving The Liberty Bell Temple on a municipal code violation why did they also seize the medical/spiritual marijuana and cash, amongst other things without the constitutionally guaranteed due process of a valid search warrant?" asks Forchion.

"The Police have still not provided the Temple with a search warrant, nor the affidavit required to obtain one.  If we were a 7-11, Rite Aid, Scientology Center, Synagogue, or Christian Church the city would not send battle-dressed cops with battering rams and shotguns. This was straight militarized robbery by cops, under the guise of this new city ordinance."

Medical marijuana attorney, David Welch Esq. and his firm, D|R Welch Attorneys at Law P.C. are recognized for providing  aggressive and knowledgeable representation in all areas of the medical marijuana law throughout Los Angeles, Orange County, and other Southern California communities.

"During the raid on Liberty Bell Temple II on July 14, 2010, the police made threatening remarks in an attempt to chill the practice of Rastafari by the members of Liberty Bell Temple II," cites Welch.  "These acts are a clear violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the California Constitution.  We will seek an injunction by the courts to prevent further police activity against the members of Liberty Bell Temple II and their practice and congregation in their Rastafarian faith."

When discussing the religious use of marijuana  Forchion cites, "I don't think our Liberty Bell Temple or any Rastafarian Temple is any different than the UDV Church - (  Members of the UDV Church use a substance called Hoasca, Rastafarains use substance called "marijuana."  

The UDV Church realized a landmark Federal ruling when it was determined in the case Gonzales vs. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal that the Federal Government's seizure of their sacramental tea, which contained a Schedule I substance was in fact illegal and a violation permitted under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Seagram heir and UDV Church member, Jeffrey Bronfman funded the case to the Supreme Court.

About Ed Forchion aka NJWeedman

NJWeedman first achieved cult status and media notoriety when he was arrested for smoking the sacred herb in front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA. As one of the most prominent figures in the medical marijuana movement, Forchion is continually fueling his advocacy. As the founder of the Legalize Marijuana Party of New Jersey in 1998, Forchion has run campaigns for Governor, Congress, the State Legislature, and the Burlington County Board of Freeholders in New Jersey.

Forchion's activism has led him to appearances in documentaries including "How Weed Won the West,"  and Jack Herer's "The Emperor's Wears No Clothes", Spike TV's  "10,000 Ways to Die," and Direct TV's "Supreme Court of Comedy".  He has also been featured regularly on TMZ.

His NJWeedman's video series, filmed from the Liberty Bell Temple and seen on his website  and at, commands a following of viewers from around the world. He regularly updates his footage with vivid coverage of the happenings at the Temple, including specials on the vast varietals of medicinal marijuana he was able to serve up legally, daily to his patients.

In addition, his memoirs, "Public Enemy #420" is chock full of amazing statistics about the "politricks" of marijuana as well as the page turning adventures of his life. From his early days of trafficking marijuana, to his legal battles with the state officials in New Jersey, his months behind bars and finally his sojourn to sunny California, Ed Forchion 's live is a real life tale of "high" drama.  

In an effort to raise money for his defense fund, Forchion is hosting a "Fundraiser Fish Fry" every Friday at the Liberty Bell Temple at 5642 Hollywood Blvd., along with his regular Reggae Night Jam every Monday at the  Blu Monkey lounge, located at 5521 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood, CA.

To view the police raid at Liberty Bell Temple, go to

To track NJWeedman's legal battles, support his case and contribute to his defense fund, log on at

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Putting "Pot" In Potential POTUS

First off I would like to give the Veterans Administration (VA) credit for recognizing the voice of the veterans by allowing them to receive their veteran benefits and medical marijuana in approved states.

This is one of the first positive steps I have seen from the Federal Government, since last year when the POTUS had the DEA back of medical marijuana dispensary's, and honoring states rights.

If the Federal Government through the VA, can give referrals for medical marijuana and veteran patients will be able to receive them. This is such a big big step in the right direction. It has not gone unnoticed and appreciated by many.

Hopefully, the negative propaganda campaigns against cannabis can finally be put in the past, and people will be more open without fear of persecution for supporting rescheduling cannabis from a schedule 1 substance to a schedule 2 substance.

It really should just come to a point during re-election/election time to put the candidates on the spot and make them swear to change the scheduling of cannabis. Tell them if you are supposed to care for the people you represent then they need to hear what we are saying. Millions of people everywhere would benefit from this intensely humane gesture.

Look if cannabis really was as bad as the government has claimed, I would not smoke it. Since I have tried it, I guess you could say I know better. Actually being aware of how unjust cannabis prohibition is, has been quite disconcerting at times.

I cant Google Juarez on their news and not see some sort of article regarding another execution style killing from a drug gang.

Millions of Americans arrested for cannabis annually.

Over a trillion in tax dollars spent fighting against cannabis.

Next election, be it in 2010, or in 2012, confront the candidates and find out if they are cannabis friendly or not. They want your vote, make them earn it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why Most Police Forces Support Cannabis Prohibition

I want to share this article from the Wall Street Journal. It is about a county sheriff in California, who explains how he is forced to increase pressure on marijuana offenders for the primary purpose of financial gain for his police force.

Financially strapped police use pot fighting cash

I'm going to post some of the quotes from the article and give my perspective on them.

IGO, Calif.—Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, his budget under pressure in a weak economy, has laid off staff, reduced patrols and even released jail inmates. But there's one mission on which he's spending more than in recent years: pot busts.

The reason is simple: If he steps up his pursuit of marijuana growers, his department is eligible for roughly half a million dollars a year in federal anti-drug funding, helping save some jobs. The majority of the funding would have to be used to fight pot. Marijuana may not be the county's most pressing crime problem, the sheriff says, but "it's where the money is."

Washington has long allocated funds to help localities fight crime, influencing their priorities in the process. Today's local budget squeezes are enhancing this effect, and the result is particularly striking in California, where many residents take a benign view of pot but federal dollars help keep law-enforcement focused on it. 

My concern with this article is this, it is not just a one time thing. This is occurring in counties all across the country. 

I have seen how this money influences a sheriffs department first hand serving on a grand jury a couple of years ago. I ended up seeing a lot of marijuana cases come across the table.  I remember one case that came up, an undercover sheriff busted a couple for an ounce of marijuana, and he really wanted to put the screws to these offenders by also wanting to charge them with intent to distribute. I refused to go along with it and did not raise my hand. Matter of fact another grand jury member also agreed that the charges were a bit harsh and refused to raise his hand as well.

The District Attorney and the undercover sheriff were surprised, and visibly agitated. To reach a compromise they offered to drop the intent to distribute charge if we would vote on the rest of the charges. The rest of the grand jury agreed and it passed. Minus just one vote, mine. I refused to raise my hand on each and every marijuana case that came up.

You see, I managed to get on a grand jury, even though I had gotten busted for possession of marijuana back in 2000. I could not be compelled to help prosecute someone for possessing marijuana. I don't think they realized at first that they had an marijuana activist on their grand jury, but I'm sure they soon figured that out.

During my time on the grand jury, I was given a tour of the county jail by the sheriff. This is when I learned about the financial incentive for marijuana convictions. This sheriff said pretty much the same thing the sheriff in the article said. "Its where the money is" 

The sheriff even encouraged us to go to the next sheriffs auction to raise more money for the sheriffs department. They had a whole bunch of vehicles and boats that had been confiscated in drug raids waiting to be auctioned off.

The pot money is "$340,000 I could use somewhere else in my organization," he says. "That could fund three officers' salaries and benefits, and we could have them out on our streets doing patrol." His overall budget this year is about $35 million. 

A lot of financially strapped counties are not so lucky to have a $35 million dollar budget to get them through the year.

$340,000 a pop is the golden carrot that encourages our police to prosecute citizens for marijuana offenses.

The U.S. Justice Department is spending nearly $3.6 billion this year to augment budgets of state and local law-enforcement agencies. In addition, the federal government last year set aside close to $4 billion of the economic-stimulus package for law-enforcement grants for state and local agencies. The White House also is spending about $239 million this year to fund local drug-trafficking task forces. 

If you follow the money, you'll see its the primary motivation for arresting marijuana offenders. It has nothing to do with justice. It comes down to job security for police departments.

I guarantee you if the police departments did not receive this federal allocation of funds for marijuana offenses, the police would not even bother folks who consumed marijuana. 

So far over a trillion dollars has been spent on the "war on drugs"
After 40 years, $1 trillion, US War on Drugs has failed to meet any of its goals

Check out this link:

States in the Red 

Check out the states on this chart that are in the red. Is it any coincidence that the reddest states have some of the strictest laws against marijuana, or the most arrests? These cash starved states with billion dollar deficits are struggling to make their payrolls, and they are capitalizing on marijuana prohibition by sucking on the governments teat for a federal handout, at the expense of our freedom. 

Let's put this in perspective for a moment.

Recently a family was awoken in the middle of the night by a task force. The task force broke down their door, shot the families dog, scared the children, and arrested the parents for less than an ounce of marijuana. 
It makes me wonder if during alcohol prohibition if the police ever raided a home and shot the families dog, scared the children, and arrested the parents for a 12 pack of beer in the fridge?

If the cops were getting $340,000.00 a year to do it, do you think they would have?

How about this for a perspective.

A crippled guy in a wheel chair gets arrested for smoking medicinal marijuana. He is looking at 6 years in prison if he fails an urinalysis now. 

It don't mean shit to the police that he uses marijuana to alleviate his pain as long as this gives them a credit for their government hand out. I see no honor, no integrity in these kinds of harassing arrests. 

To me the trade off is obvious. I would rather see someone like the guy in the article below receive a better quality of life, than have an extra policeman on the books.

Quadriplegic faces jail time for using medicinal marijuana

Cannabis prohibition should not have to shoulder such a significant amount of a police departments budget. It is only creating distrust, and an us against them mentality. Why? Because of money....

If “cops don’t make laws, they just enforce them”, why are police opposing marijuana legalization?

When I got busted back in 2000 for possession of marijuana, I got a slap on the wrist from the judge. Unfortunately I failed an urinalysis and my probation got extended from 6 months to two years. Then I had to have some strange dude in the bathroom with me, staring at my cock, while I pissed in a cup once a month x24 months. I had to spend a $1,000.00 to get out of jail. $600.00 in drug counseling classes, and $2,000.00 in probation/court costs. 

I was lucky that I was not convicted as a felon, so I can still vote, and I will. It's only going to be for someone who is marijuana friendly and who supports ending cannabis prohibition, or if the petition is finally on the ballot to legalize marijuana. Once I had finally got caught, I quit my street dealing ways to supplement my habit, but I decided then to focus on becoming an activist to end prohibition of marijuana.

I am an optimist though, I still hope that honesty and integrity will win the day. Maybe one day the police will realize that convicting American citizens for this victimless crime is not worth the blood money the government is handing out to them. 
That integrity cannot be bought, that freedom and true justice will prevail. 

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