FORCHION Vs COMCAST

03-cv-1105

 

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 August 17th, 2002COMCAST YANKS my POLITICAL ADS” calling for the end of the “WAR ON DRUGS”. Two days later on August 19th, 2003 the State of New Jersey officials had me arrested for making these ads. I was charged with “advocating criminal activity”. I later learned Comcast not only censored the ads but turned them over to the state officials without the State officials even having to obtain a warrant. COMCAST willingly supplied the evidence to be used against me, in a court proceeding to imprison me for exercising “FREE SPEECH”.  ( SEE:  LAWSUIT ) . Imagine, I spent five months in THE BURLINGTON COUNTY JAIL for trying to air POLITICAL Ads on Comcast. (SEE the : AD’S ) Please watch the ads and tell me why Comcast would “CENSOR” this POLITICAL ISSUE and then help the Government to imprison me for entering into a contract with it to express this political issue on the cable network.

 

 

JAILED FOR EXPRESSING UNPOPULAR VIEWS

by Linn Washington



 


 

Advocate of legalizing marijuana sues Comcast

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

By RENEE WINKLER 
Courier-Post Staff 
CAMDEN 

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 Burlington County freeholder board.

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.
  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reach Renee Winkler at (856) 486-2455 or rwinkler@courierpostonline.com   

Marijuana advocate suing Comcast over commercials
By MIKE MATHIS
Burlington County Times
 
  
CAMDEN - Marijuana legalization advocate Ed "njweedman" Forchion is suing Comcast, claiming the cable television provider illegally refused to air commercials in which he criticized the nation's war on drugs.

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 Pemberton Township resident also contends that Comcast libeled him when it told reporters habit-forming drugs appeared in the commercials, the suit states. 

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 Burlington and Camden counties under the banner of the Legalize Marijuana Party. 

"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. 

Email: Mmathis@phillyBurbs.com 
 

 

 

CLICK on pictures below and see all three POLITICAL ADS

 

"Click on each picture and see a different political ad!"

 

DISMISSED

 

 

03-CV-1105

FORCHION v. COMCAST CORPORATION, et al

 

On March 20th, 2003 this case was dismissed due to a (SURMOUNTABLE) technicality. At this time EDWARD “NJWEEDMAN” FORCHION has decided to wait a few months before re-filing a lawsuit. NJWEEDMAN is expected to be released from ISP this fall, he plans on re-registering to vote and running for the 3rd Congressional district seat now held by (r) Jim Saxton.

 

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.).

 

 

In the Federal Ruling that released me from the Burlington County Jail Judge Irenas found that the issue of “Marijuana Legalization” was a valid political issue in this country:

 

          “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)

 

LEGALLY HOW COULD COMCAST PREVENT ME FROM RUNNING POLITICAL AD’S! IF THERE IS A LAWYER OUT THERE THAT WANTS TO STAND-UP FROM “POLITICAL EXPRESSION” and election laws (PRO BONO) Please contact me. njweedman@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Comcast and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R) Partner to Bring Important Anti-Drug Messages to Dallas Market

 

IRVING, Texas, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Comcast, the country's leading cable and broadband communications provider, recently announced a three-year cross- channel advertising commitment on its cable systems in the Dallas area to help the Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R) increase exposure for anti-drug advertising. In addition, Comcast and the Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (GDCADA) are working on an awareness campaign tailored specifically for the Dallas market.

The donation of advertising time is part of an unprecedented $50 million nationwide commitment from Comcast to the Partnership, the largest single upfront commitment of advertising from a major media company to the Partnership in the organization's history.

Comcast Dallas Market will feature a variety of special Public Service Announcements designed to draw attention to the drug abuse issues facing our community, drug awareness and education initiatives available to concerned parents in the Dallas area.

"We're pleased to be able to use our advertising inventory, as well as our products and services, to help the Partnership for a Drug-Free America deliver messages of 'hope, help, and warning,'" said Ann Montgomery, Comcast's Regional Senior Vice-President, Southwest Group. "Sometimes the most important gift we can give to the community is the ability to get their message out to the public."

The majority of initial campaign messages will focus on educating viewers on Ecstasy and methamphetamine abuse as well as encouraging parents to make "knowing the whereabouts of their teens" a high priority. Over time, the campaign increasingly will focus on regional needs and drug threats in the Dallas area. "The Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse is excited to know that we have a strong new partner to help us attack drug abuse here in the metroplex," said Debbie Meripolski, Executive Director of GDCADA. "Our agency has been working on dependency issues since 1946 and we know the advantages a powerful company like Comcast can provide to our public awareness goals."

The Partnership's messages will air on a wide range of cable networks on Comcast in the Dallas market, including prime time.

Research released recently by the Partnership (1) ports a strong correlation between exposure to anti-drug messaging and parental action. The data report that parents who are exposed to more anti-drug ads are likely to talk with their kids about the risks and dangers of drugs, and are more likely to do so frequently and thoroughly. "That's critical," noted Meripolski, "because kids who learn a lot about the risks of drug use at home are up to 54 percent less likely to use drugs(2)."

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable is a division of Comcast Corporation, a developer, manager and operator of broadband cable networks and provider of programming content. Operating in 17 of the United States' 20 largest metropolitan areas, Comcast is one of the leading communications, media and entertainment companies in the world. Providing basic cable, Digital Cable, high-speed Internet and telephone services, Comcast is the company to look to first for the communications products and services that connect people to what's important in their lives. The company's 55,000 employees, in five divisions, serve more than 21 million customers.

Comcast, whose local offices are located in Irving Texas, serves more than half a million customers and employs more than 1,000 people in the metroplex.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R) is a private, non-profit coalition of professionals from the communications industry. Best known for its national, drug-education advertising campaign, the Partnership exists to help kids and teens reject substance abuse by influencing attitudes through persuasive information. The Partnership's State/City Alliance Program supports the Partnership's mission at the local level. The Partnership receives major funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and financial support from more than 200 private sector corporations. The Partnership accepts no money from alcohol or tobacco manufacturers. All actors in the Partnership's ads appear pro bono through the generosity of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

(1) 2003 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study parent data, released October 16, 2003. (2) 2002 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study teen data, released February 11, 2003.

Comcast

CONTACT: Debbie Meripolski of Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug
Abuse, +1-214-522-8600; or Angel Biasatti of Comcast, +1-972-830-3811, or
cell, +1-214-213-7686

Web site: http://www.comcast.com/

 

 

 

 

 

No - FREE SPEECH on public transportation say’s Congressman!

 

House to ban transit drug-reform ads

Pombo supports bill;

By Josh Richman, STAFF WRITER

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 voters in California and nine other states have decided should be available for medical use.

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 therapeutic relief for individuals with certain ailments conventional treatments haven't cured," said Pombo, who also represents Blackhawk, Danville, Dublin, Manteca, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Stockton and Sunol. "But it doesn't change the fact that the substances are illegal, and I don't see advertising illegal substances as a good use of taxpayer's money."

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 Pleasanton and Sunol.

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 Oakland on federal marijuana cultivation charges.

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 jrichman@angnewspapers.com .