Forchion is a prominent
figure on the 5000 block of Hollywood Boulevard.He
is the owner of the Liberty Bell Temple, a
medical marijuana cooperative at 5642 Hollywood Boulevard, and if you
seen him out front this red, green and yellow shop, you may have
spotted him in
The Weed mobile, Forchion’s purple, green and black, glistening
to the plant he loves most.
On any official
documentation his name would read: Robert Edward Forchion Jr., but to
general public and those who know him well, he is New Jersey Weedman,
2009: Edward Forchion, here on to be known as NJWeedman, is approaching
entrance of his apartment building at 1205 Serrano Avenue.When he arrived at the apartment his
landlord, Robert West, would inform NJWeedman that he had cancelled his
and that currently a Brian Vagabon was living inside the residence.This technique, NJWeedman would come to find
out, is a classic example of an illegal eviction procedure.Without any former grievances filed or made
heard, and without any prior notification, NJWeedman was told he was
off the lease
and effectively out of an apartment.
hearing that such a thing had happened, and fully understanding the
nature--excuse the pun-- of this case, I couldn’t help but wonder if
landlord was not trying to take advantage of someone who he assumed
passively roll over, simply because inside the tenants apartment there
he did perceive this to be the case, what a mistake Mr. West, the
question, had made; what a terrible misconception of character he had
marijuana clinic owner and outspoken advocate of marijuana rights.If his landlord believed he could take away
Forchion’s state-given rights to grow, and assumed that because of the
nature of marijuana laws in this country, he could do so without a
Mr. West was terribly mistaken.
morning, on September 21st, NJWeedman went to the downtown
court office on Hill Street.From there
he was able to check all landlord records for LA county in order to
print, whether his landlord had filed any formal eviction notices
informing him first.Once he had
that there was no previous documentation to be found, he continued on
to the Hollywood
Police Station and requested that a detective hear his case.His requests were met and a statement of the
events to was given to Detective Vinton.
referring to the detective who heard his case.“It’s not that often that someone comes and asks the
police if they can
help them get their weed plants back.This might’ve been a first,” says NJWeedman.
Police station NJWeedman provided a written statement outlining the
events and disclosing that there were seventy-seven marijuana plants
apartment, which he wanted back.In
other states such an act would be incriminating, but in California,
his statues as an owner and caregiver, NJWeedman felt within the law to
such a request.
out, he was.After Detective Vinton
heard the case, he placed a call to the city clerks’ office to verify
a.k.a. Edward Forchion, was in fact owner of a medical marijuana clinic.When he received word from the clerks’ office
that he did lease a medical marijuana facility operating in Hollywood,
Detective Vinton called Weedman’s landlord and told him that Mr.
Forchion and a
LAPD unit would be coming over to the apartment, and instructed Mr.
West to let
them on the premises.NJWeedman then
to go back to his apartment, arriving there roughly ten minutes before
officers assigned to his got to the scene.
was in that small window of time—app. ten minutes—that Mr. West, the
landlord, also called on the LAPD, and made a trespassing claim against
Weedman.In a bizarre turn of event,
a matter of moments, there was a helicopter and a small battalion of
officers on the apartment lawn, arresting NJWeedman.
vindication was coming, so NJWeedman didn’t put up a struggle.He was upset-- nobody enjoys being unlawfully
placed under arrest-- but he knew his police were en route.And when the more informed officers did
arrive mid-fiasco, they quickly had the cuffs taken off NJ Weedman and
on the real issue at hand: the illegal eviction taking place.Officers at the scene informed the landlord,
Mr. West, that he had to let NJWeedman into his apartment, and that the
tenant should be removed immediately.
outcome was pleasing only momentarily: when he and assisting officers
his apartment NJWeedman would discover that the only things which had
tampered with were the seventy-seven marijuana plants he had been
his patients in a bedroom.Many other
things were missing.
wait a minute: did I just write—in bold print—that there was a civilian
officers, inside a room full of marijuana plants, and that there
I did just write that.That is what
marijuana cooperative owners have been instructed by the state to, if
become self-sustainable, i.e. to provide marijuana for there patients
they, themselves, have grown.After all,
by signing a cooperative membership, a patient is effectively turning
into his caregiver, and thus the rights of an owner include his/her
grow marijuana for the patient he/she is a caregiver to.
Los Angeles, where many clinics have 1000 plus patients, this has
created a bit
of confusion: does the law mean that a clinic owner could grow six
plants for each of his patients, therefore legally growing 6000 plants?
is still no concrete answer to that question, and in reality, real
square footage and pricing markets in Los Angeles county prevent most
from being able to do any large scale marijuana growing in the city—who
afford a mansion in the hills solely dedicated to the purpose of
on September 20th, 2009, when NJWeedman and the police were
side by side next to a bevy of marijuana buds and a stack of
scripts, the answer to the question: can you grow legally for your
—Seems to be: yes.That afternoon
LAPD took no action against the Weedman; in fact, they took his side,
the apartment to him, along with the seventy-seven plants, which, at
were desperate for a watering.
“The LAPD returned my grown room
to me,” saysNJWeedman.
filing a lawsuit against his landlord, suing for continued harassment
and the illegal
lock out/eviction. The landlord has now
for a eviction in Superior Court after the fact.
Njweedman the worst part of it I was trying to comply with state/county
incentives to grow our own got me into this with a local landlord. The
neighborhood now knows I have a grow room and I had to hire someone
chill there all the time. In my suit I’ll
be seeking compensation for the embarrassment of my locked out, being
handcuffed in front of my neighbors, the cost of changing the locks,
security I now have to pay and the harassing phone calls I receive from
MR West. As for his filed eviction, he has
my rent is up to date but I will defend myself in court as I’ve done in
past. "I didn't look for this court fight it came to me."