TRENTON >> NJ Weedman’s Joint is back open for business – and going forward, he plans to stay open 24 hours.
Ed Forchion’s business license was revoked by the city last week after city police visited his East State Street restaurant multiple times for staying open late.
The city has also apparently walked back its stance preventing the marijuana activist from keeping his restaurant open throughout the night, according to NJ Weedman’s attorney.
Since the The Trentonian first reported Friday that the marijuana activist’s business license was revoked, the city reinstated the license.
City clerk Richard Kachmar walked over Monday morning to the joint and hand-delivered a letter to Forchion saying he could re-open. The clerk said Monday afternoon that he received a hand-delivered appeal from Forchion in the morning.
“I accepted the appeal and gave him a stay on his license so he’s allowed to open and operate until a hearing can be scheduled before council for the suspension and/or revocation,” Kachmar said.
With the clerk’s blessing, Forchion plans to heat up the fryers.
“He’ll be selling chicken wings all night long,” East Windsor attorney Edward Heyburn said in a phone interview.
The marijuana activist, who operates his restaurant and weed temple across from City Hall, complained he has been targeted by Trenton Police since they raided his businesses in April, arresting him and 10 others on drug-related charges. He has sued the city for violating his religious and civil rights. Kachmar said he received no instructions from the police to revoke Forchion’s license.
Forchion said he had no due process on any of the tickets issued for staying open past 11 p.m.
“This proves exactly what I’ve been saying,” Forchion said in a phone interview. “The city police has been harassing me for last seven months. They scared away all my clients and ruined my business. The city clerk just admitted I’m in a business zone and I’m correct about the statute the city has been using to target me. It doesn’t apply to me or this address. The meatheads on the police department refuse to accept that.”
Kachmar wrote to Forchion last week, informing him the city yanked his business license because of “various violation [sic] of Chapter 146-22.” Those matters are still pending in municipal court, and Forchion expects he’ll be vindicated.
The city ordinance says businesses in residential zones must obey the 11 p.m. city curfew. Forchion has argued the curfew does not apply to his business because it is in a business zone.
The Weedman’s attorney had sent a letter to City Council on Monday morning, accusing Kachmar of intentionally sending the revocation letter to an address Forchion where no longer resides.
The Sept. 19 letter was sent certified mail to a home listed for the weed advocate on Morris Drive in Sicklerville. The home belongs to Forchion’s mother.
Heyburn said the letter should have been sent to Forchion’s restaurant.
“It was extremely suspicious that Mr. Kachmar sent such an important notice to an address other than the business address,” Heyburn wrote in a letter to City Council.
Heyburn said the letter was sent to the home of Forchion’s mother so he wouldn’t get notice and challenge the revocation.
In his defense, Kachmar said the Sicklerville address was listed on Forchion’s business license.
“I should have sent it to his storefront, I guess, and so I granted him the appeal based on his decision,” the clerk said.
Heyburn said had his client gotten notice they would have immediately addressed the matter and Forchion would have had the license revocation stayed until it was resolved.
“That was a complete set-up knowing he wouldn’t get it,” Heyburn said. “Every letter they had sent him was to East State Street. Then the most crucial notice that his business license is in jeopardy is suddenly sent to Sicklerville? Come on. This is just going to get added to the civil rights complaint.”
Heyburn will ask the court to dismiss more than 20 tickets Forchion has been issued for staying open late.
“All those charges are going away,” he said.
Forchion planned to open up by 2 p.m. Monday if the city hadn’t acted beforehand.
“I got to try,” he said.” I’m not a quitter. But the city has been teeing off on me for months. Maybe some angel investor will spread his wings and help me fight the Goliath of government.”