A California man who became known as a medical marijuana advocate following his arrest in New Jersey encouraged medicinal users of the drug to not be afraid to speak on their own behalf if taken to trial.
“By representing myself and speaking for myself, I put myself into a different category,” Ed Forchion — also known as the “NJ Weedman” — told Reason TV in an interview posted Wednesday. “There’s a lot of anti-lawyer animosity in America, too. So I capitalized on that. I described my prosecutor in not good terms. I felt like the prosecutor, the judge and even the public defender were all on the same team, [whereas] I described myself as being on ‘We The People’s’ team.”
Forchion, who was arrested and charged with possession in October 2012 in New Jersey, was sentenced in January 2013 to carry out two years’ probation in Los Angeles and pay $3,400 in fines, but acquitted of drug distribution charges, which he noted to interviewer Zach Weissmueller, in part because he gave his own opening statement while working with a public defender.
“I should be 10 months into a 10-year prison sentence,” Forchion told Weissmueller. “The only reason I’m standing here is because I happened to know about jury nullification. And I used it.”
Jury nullification, he explained, happens when a jury disagrees with the application of the law the defendant is accused of breaking.
“But the fact of the matter is, most Americans believe marijuana laws are wrong, and that’s what I argued,” Forchion said.
Watch the interview, posted by Reason TV on Wednesday, below.