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NJWeedman’s Joint faces eviction - 2/2019

Ed Forchion, also know as NJWeedman , is a well-known figure in New Jersey for his position on the legalization of Marijuana. He has run for state assembly and U.S. congress on a “Legalize Marijuana Party” ticket. Over the years he has had his ups and downs, run-ins with the law, even a battle with cancer. He and his partner Debi Madaio opened a very unique CANNA-BUSINESS first of its kind and perhaps before its time restaurant and cannabis temple that catered to and encouraged the cannabis consuming community to patronize this establishment it was groundbreakingly innovative. It was both a business and activism center.

When it opened its location made world-wide news they opened the restaurant, NJWeedman’s Joint , in downtown Trenton across from Trenton City Hall in May of 2015 . Articles were published in the Wall Street Journal, The Trentonian, the associated press wrote articles that went not only national but international NJweedman was depicted as a hero in local & national papers. Ed was praised by local public officials for contributing to the revitalization of Trentons downtown. All along he was an unabashed advocate for the legalization of marijuana, as a decades long activist and Columnist at the local paper THE TRENTONIAN, penning a Column titled: PASSING THE JOINT , in which he criticized local politicians, policies and the police. Now he was a different type of entrepreneur making a positive impact in a troubled neighborhood, hiring staff locally and presenting a positive image nationally. They announced they were making a reality show THE JOINT  based on the daily operations of the restaurant and the cast of characters working there. All was great, they thought they had the perfect 420 model for a business catering to potheads.

35566972_1545511908752906_r.jpeg(NJ ASSEMBLYMAN REID GUSCIORA presents award for opening in Trenton - REID is now the Mayor of Trenton )


All this changed in early 2016 when the Trenton police told Ed that he was in violation of an ordinance 146-22 which required all businesses to close at 11:00 pm.  NJweedmans Joint held night-time live music events that attracted dozens of performers and patrons . This ordinance was a vestige of the tired old drug war that started in the 1980s, an attempt to clear the streets and suppress crime. A type of curfew. It would seem that this restriction did not help Trenton and may have even made things worse. Dark abandoned streets do not lead to a healthy urban renewal. The police used this ordinance to harass Ed, The Joint and his patrons.

Ed objected because he did good business after 11pm. He went to City Hall and checked out ordinance 146-22 and the city zoning map. It turned out that ordinance 146-22  applied only to residential zones and Ed’s restaurant was in a Business/Administrative Zone  and was therefore not subjected to the ordinance.

The police ignored that significant detail in the ordinance and continued to harass him. Ed stood his ground on this issue and kept the restaurant open even as the police ramped up their harassment and issued bogus tickets and scared away patrons. He even went to other restaurants and tried to encourage them to stay open as he thought it could be a good thing for the area.

Ed has always been a fighter. Yes, for the legalization of marijuana, but also for justice. A police officer once told him he had a reputation for being litigious and that he would be retaliated against by some officers if he continued to “poke the bear.” He has a successful record for defending himself over the past 20 years, with a record of 4 out of 5 victories. These facts were not appreciated by the local law enforcement. Police harassment, illegal search and seizure, and general abuse were common occurrences for Ed.

Still, the escalating police harassment of his new business was hard to take. Ed was subjected to sudden mass raids. On one occasion in (February of 2016) 20 officers showed up with police dogs. Ed’s customers were intimidated. Ed decided to file a Civil Rights complaint in FEDERAL court for harassment. (March 9th, 2016) The harassment was "TURNED UP"  further. The police sent in undercover officers and a citizen rat - ZEV M. LAPIDUS to fabricate stories to ILLEGALLY ENTRAP  NJWeedman in a crime so they could arrest him and remove him from his restaurant, and silence him. AFTER he filed his lawsuit.

Just weeks after Ed filed the FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS  complaint he was arrested on 11 bogus indictable charges. Ed was certain that this was no coincidence, "it was retaliation by the police to his lawsuit".

The arrest then led to a series of events so convoluted and absurd that you have to hear Ed tell it: “The police and prosecutors office charged me with 41 phoney charges and denied me bail for two of them (witness Tampering) for 447 days. ALL in a failed attempt to close NJWeedmans Joint & imprison me to shut me up. I openly promised the prosecutor I was going to whoop their legal asses......which i did"


The Owners of NJweedmans Joint & The Liberty Bell Temple 3 

(EDWARD) - co/owner of the Joint was made a victim by the Police Campaign of Terror against this business....

(DEBI) - co/owner of the Joint was made a victim too by the Police Campaign of Terror against this business....

THE BATTLE OF TRENTON - and DEBI & NJweedman won!

While he was jailed a local municipal court Judge  dismissed all 23 of the "146-22 hours of operation tickets", he was found "Not Guilty" of the two witness tampering charges, 3 charges were down graded and the state has dismissed the rest. -- TOTAL VICTORY.
"Now in fact I’ve beaten 38 of the 41 charges, was found "NOT GUILTY", gotten out of jail and did it all representing myself, which pisses off the syshitem even more that i understand and utilize JURY NULLIFICATION.” He's written a unpublished book on his ordeal titled: "MY LEGAL LYNCHING"

"Debi hung in there throught the ordeal....picking up the jail phone calls, making threeways calls, paying the rent, keeping me relevant, keeping me on mission and WE WON.... Debi & I". 

Ed spent 447 days in jail on phoney "witness tampering" charges before he was found "NOT GUILTY"  by two juries and the rest were eventually dismissed . Once again Ed had won. Or so it would seem.  As Ed puts it, “I feel like Muhammad Ali, who won his ‘thriller in Manilla’ fight against Joe Frazier, but got seriously beat up. I feel the same. I won, I beat the Goliath of Government  but I got beat up. WE reopened, I can’t catch up on the rent, hire staff or promote as a result of the Government beatdown. Patrons are still scared to come back.”

We are on Grubhub.com , Ubereats.com and doordash.com so the delivery business is picking up now…but the locals don't come in, "which means we don't have cash to pay rent, advertise, promote, or to even hang a new sign - we need a infusion of cash".

THE POLICE ARE GONE, BUT SO ARE THE PATRONS                                                                                                                                          "city couldn't get a conviction, city is now watching eviction"

"People are calling me a hero for beating the Government, Vice.com  even did a series of stories on me calling me a local legend but NJWeedman’s Joint is on the rocks". With the year long police harassment in 2016 and Ed's 447 day absence the momentum was lost. The business closed shortly after Ed’s incarceration.  In a herculean feat they did manage to reopen at the end of the summer 2018, but he is barely hanging on. His partner was able to pay the rent for a short time, but recently lost her job, and now Ed is three months behind on the rent and utilities due to lack of patronage. The business that received so much NATIONAL praise and good will upon its original opening in 2015 is now in SERIOUS danger of shutting down. The police could not beat Ed in the courts , but now may still get their way, to shut Ed down, by underhanded means. This is why Ed deserves our support in this time of crisis, it's not often a citizen resists and fights the corruption of Government by himself and wins. This is not a failed business in the traditional sense this is a business that was illegal targeted by local corrupt police to shut-down. In a spectacle fashion, Ed won his cases' beating the police and prosecutors publicly but the business suffered in the chaos.


It is SADLY ironic that Ed’s business is about to go under because of his advocacy for legalizing weed when weed is about to be legalized. Ed was always on the front line, not only fighting for the right to smoke weed, but also exposing the injustices and the racism of the drug laws and the impact of these laws on his community.

Ed and his Civil Attorney (Andrew Tate & Mario Williams of the Nexus Law Firm , Atlanta Ga) feel his lawsuit will be successful in the future, but in the meantime he doesn't want to lose NJWEEDMANS JOINT while this suit makes it way thru the federal system........NJWEEDMANS JOINT, FORCHION vs CITY of TRENTON, MERCER COUNTY PROSECUTORS , et, al,. 3:16-cv-o1339pgs....They tried to get the City to settle in order to SAVE THE JOINT but the City has ignored settlement offers...probably waiting for THE JOINT to lose lease first...couldnt get a conviction watch the eviction.  There is a New Mayor, but is the city stalling and delaying in hopes that the JOINT goes under and not be located directly across from City Hall anymore?


SEE VIDEO - "447 DAYS"  - 


Ed has tried getting loans against his case to no avail and now hes being evicted, many are watching the continued destruction of the JOINT by the Government...few are helping. Ed is remarkably upbeat about it all, yet pragmatic. He after the 447-day nightmare needs to get back on his feet and catch up with the bills and rent, and he needs help to do it.   Ed has stood for our rights, now let’s stand up for him, donate and share.









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