FORCHION Vs COMCAST
The reason I am filing this suit is to bring some
attention on the egregious act Comcast engaged in, “CENSORSHIP”. In
July of 2002 Pete Christopher of NEXTPLAYVIDEO.COM
and I filmed three “POLITICAL ADS” calling for the end of the
“WAR ON DRUGS”. I signed a contract with COMCAST to air the ad’s. The TRENTONIAN wrote about them “WEEDMAN
takes cause to the airwaves”. On
Advocate of legalizing marijuana sues Comcast
By RENEE WINKLER
R. Edward Forchion Jr., a marijuana legalization advocate who goes by the nickname Weedman, has sued the area's largest cable TV provider, claiming it censored his ads and libeled him in the media.
Forchion said he had a contract with Comcast Corp. to broadcast "political issue ads" last summer. But the company yanked the ads from its lineup and told members of the media that Forchion was proposing the illegal use of drugs, the Browns Mills man claims in a federal lawsuit filed last week.
The contract covered 260 TV spots at a total cost of $5,710.
The ads were similar in content, Forchion said, to those he bought in 1999
and 2000 when seeking election to Congress, the state Assembly and the
A year ago, Forchion was denied an application to have his name changed to NJWeedman.com.
In his lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court here, Forchion seeks $420,000 as compensation from Comcast.
Comcast officials said Tuesday they could not comment on a matter in litigation.
The logo for Forchion's Legalize Marijuana Party is a marijuana leaf, and he said it's not unlike the images or logos of elephants and donkeys used by the Republican and Democratic parties.
He claims Comcast violated his civil rights by censoring his political statements, breaching a contract with him and libeling him by referring to Forchion in published news accounts as someone who promoted illegal drug use.
Forchion said he no longer uses marijuana and is fighting only to legalize the drug. He said he has never has encouraged its illegal use by others.
The lawsuit is assigned for trial to U.S. District Judge Joseph Irenas.
advocate suing Comcast over commercials
In a lawsuit filed in federal court here, Forchion contends that Comcast violated his civil rights when it failed to air the "political-issue ads," even though he had a contract with the company to show them.
The commercials show Forchion wearing a T-shirt with a marijuana leaf emblazoned on the front.
The leaf is the symbol of the Legalize Marijuana Party, just as the elephant and donkey are symbols for the Republican and Democratic parties, the suit states.
Forchion has run for elected office in
"No drugs appeared in the ads; it was absolutely libelous for Comcast to publicly state it was so," the suit states. "Although there is the image/logo of (a) marijuana leaf on plaintiff's T-shirt, it is not marijuana."
Forchion is seeking $420,000 in compensation from Comcast, according to the suit.
Forchion served 16 months of a 10-year sentence for possession of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute before he was accepted into an early-parole program.
He was jailed in August after program officials charged he violated one provision of the program by taping the commercials.
In January, a federal judge ordered that Forchion be admitted to the parole program, saying program officials violated his First Amendment rights when they accused him of advocating legalization of marijuana.
CLICK on pictures below and see all three POLITICAL ADS
"Click on each picture and see a different political ad!"
Once “NJWEEDMAN” becomes a legal candidate to run for office he will again approach COMCAST with the very same POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENTS. This time they will be official campaign advertisements and edited with “PAID for by the U.S. MARIJUANA PARTY” making them legally election commercials. At that time “NJWEEDMAN” will re-file a suit against COMCAST to have the ads aired!
Will Comcast break elections laws because they have a contract (see below) with The Partnership for a Drug Free America? Will I be prohibited from running campaign ad’s on COMCAST? Will some State or Federal officials move to imprison me to prevent me from running these ads?
THE ISSUE OF MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION or the DRUG POLICIES of this country are legitimate political issues in this country and it is apparent that Comcast has chosen to trumpet only the Government position and censor political dissident. Why can’t I run advertisements expressing my POLITICAL OPINIONS? How is it that Comcast is allowed to determine what POLITICAL opinions are allowed to be expressed to the public. Why doesn’t the First Amendment Right to “FREE SPEECH” apply to Comcast, it is a licensed monopoly regulated by the Federal Government (P.U.C.).
Federal Ruling that released me from the
“The First Amendment exists so as to promote debate on issues of public importance. In this case, the advocacy of the legalization of marijuana is a legitimate political position in this country. The Libertarian Party, whose presidential candidate received over 380,000 votes in the 2000 election, advocates the legalization of drugs. Libertarian Party website at http://www.lp.org/issues/relegalize.html and http://www.lp.org/campaigns/pres/. Many elected public officials have called for a liberalization of the nation's drug laws. Simply put, Plaintiff's place in this debate will do nothing to harm a public that is already itself debating the current state of our nation's drug laws.” FORCHION Vs INTENSIVE SUPERVISION, BARTLETT, 240 F.2d 302 (2003)
and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R) Partner to Bring Important
Anti-Drug Messages to
House to ban transit drug-reform ads
Pombo supports bill;
Local transit agencies allowing medical-marijuana and other kinds of drug-reform advertisements would be denied federal funding under a bill passed Monday by the House of Representatives.
Deep within the $373 billion omnibus spending bill is a paragraph that says no money from the bill can go to any bus, train or subway agency "involved directly or indirectly in any activity that promotes the legalization or medical use of any substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act."
That includes marijuana, which
Drug reform advocates call the provision censorship, pure and simple. Bill Piper, associate director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, noted the same bill gives the White House $145 million to run anti-marijuana ads in 2004.
"The government can't spend taxpayer money promoting one side of the drug policy debate while prohibiting taxpayers from using their own money to promote the other side," he said. "This is censorship and not the democratic way."
Some Bay Area lawmakers agreed.
"We don't believe it is appropriate for the federal government to use the federal purse string to stifle the free-speech interests of states and local jurisdictions with regard to this issue," said Daniel Weiss, chief of staff to Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, who didn't vote on the spending bill.
But Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, who voted for the bill, had no problem with the provision.
"I'm familiar with arguments
that some illegal substances provide thera
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, who voted against the bill, said, "With federal funding for mass transit already abysmally low, this measure makes a bad situation even worse."
Also voting against the bill were
Valley representatives Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, and
Pete Stark, D-Fremont, who also represents small portions of
The provision was inserted into the catch-all spending bill by Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Okla., after growing irked at marijuana-decriminalization ads placed in the Washington, D.C., Metro transit system by Change the Climate, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit.
Istook, who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees transportation spending, also cut $92,500 from the Metro's budget appropriation -- twice the worth of the advertising space given to Change the Climate.
Change the Climate placed
billboards throughout the Bay Area this year in response to the January
conviction of Ed Rosenthal of
The group hasn't placed transit ads in the Bay Area, but the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, placed ads on San Francisco Muni bus shelters in 1999.
The omnibus spending bill passed 242-176. Opponents from both parties felt it contained too much pork-barrel spending.
Contact Josh Richman at email@example.com .