"so called"

My name is Edward Forchion a former new jersey resident. Within the social parameters of the national cannabis consuming community I am better known as New Jersey Weedman, or “NJweedman.com”. Now I am a political exilee living in marijuana friendly California. I fled the Garden State and the official persecution sanctioned by state officials 2 years ago because of my political views on marijuana.

Occupationally now, I am the proprietor of the Liberty Bell Temple (www.libertybelltemple.com), a Religious medical marijuana collective located at 5642 Hollywood Boulevard. I provide marijuana to about 1000 people a week. For over a decade while in NJ (besides discreetly providing marijuana) I actively campaigned for the legalization of marijuana in NJ, albeit picketing with signs campaigning for various local offices, running for U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, the state Senate and even the office of the Governor all under the Legalize Marijuana Party (www.tlmp.org) ticket. Not that I thought I’d really win, it was solely to voice the opinion that marijuana should be legal.

To say, I am pro-marijuana would be…obvious; but to say that I will support the medicinal legalization of marijuana unequivocally would be a lie. I oppose it. In order for me to do so, there are legislative measures that must be in place, many of which, are currently not part of New Jersey’s medical marijuana bill.

Still, I would like to say that I am very pleased to see that New Jersey is beginning to recognize the medicinal value of marijuana, and may become the fourteenth state to legalize medical marijuana. This bill recently passed through the state Senate will continue to raise awareness about marijuana as well as reduce negative connotations surrounding the plant.

However, because of the nature of the bill—which I find contradictory and unfair in too many areas—I am unable to put my full support behind it and openly oppose it almost as much as oppose the laws that currently make marijuana illegal. I have many grievances with the current bill, and would like to explain my position by providing a sequential list of “issues,” which I find to be the most troubling.

First and foremost, in order to become eligible to receive medical marijuana in the state of New Jersey you must have an ailment, or disease, that is effectively treated with marijuana and your ailment must be acceptable to state officials. None of whom are doctors.

In California under proposition 215, that list is broad, ranging from insomnia, headaches, menstrual conditions, eating disorders, to multiple sclerosis and HIV. There is much historical scientific evidence that proves marijuana would be effective in all of the above cases; however, in the state of New Jersey, it was not scientists, or physicians, who were given the job of deeming which ailments were seen fit for medical marijuana--that decision was seized by self-righteous politicians? Who have decided that only a select few ailments would be covered? You’ll practically have to be dying to use marijuana under New Jersey’s proposed bill.

If I have a headache I’d rather twist up a joint and smoke it all, than use a Tylenol.

It is difficult for me to, as an owner of a medical marijuana facility who sees everyday the value of medical marijuana across the whole gamete of potential ailments, relegate its’ effectiveness into a small category, or group of “more serious politically acceptable diseases”. And it would be impossible for me to accept that the men and women fit to make such a medical decision, would be state senators and State Assemblymen/women in Trenton.

Further, there is a contradiction, here, in the medical bill, which begs the question: if marijuana has any deeming medicinal value, as the current bill passed through the state Senate clearly defines it does, then how can marijuana still remain a schedule one drug? — (Schedule one drugs are drugs the government says has no medicinal value and thus are illegal) — And more, how can NJ citizens continue to be prosecuted as I was in NJ for possessing marijuana, if the State has, in this proposed legislation, recognizes it’s medical value? Along with the too narrow a list of ailments, the new bill has no mentioning of marijuana, in the future, as being de-classified, re-scheduled or decriminalized, from the criminal category it is currently in, which unfairly places it alongside opiates, barbiturates and other more heavy, fatal narcotics.

The Bill creates a hypocrisy I say to state assemblymen Reed Gusciora! How can a drug have medicinal value, and be considered a Schedule one? Why, if marijuana is being recognized by the state as having medicinal value, has the State also not changed its’ position on the criminality of marijuana, i.e. how can marijuana remain illegal and highly punishable for most citizens with small amounts and also an accepted medicine for a choosen few? This flies in the the face of the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution and due process.

The next discrepancy I see within the bill is in the distribution of medical marijuana—you cannot grow medical marijuana in New Jersey, even if you are a patient with a prescription. This is absurd, the writers/supporters of this bill are absurd for this position and for this reason alone no-one should support this bill.

In the state of California, you can; in fact, it is encouraged that patients take it upon themselves to become self-sustainable, as this limits the size of a potential black market. In New Jersey, medical marijuana is to be provided for by the state. I anticipate the quality will be swag garbage weed that I’d never smoke.

Anyone familiar with the marijuana plant knows that there are varying degrees of potency, particular strains that prove more effective than others on particular ailments, and that each person’s indiviual tolerance is unique. In order to truly provide the best medical care for patients, marijuana has to be fastidiously grown by caring hands. There is no indication, or evidence, that our government has ever been fine cultivators of potent marijuana, and more, I see no reason why the government would want to control the growing/distribution of marijuana—by doing so, they are privatizing the drug, regulating it in effect and making it exclusive to government, which could eventually lead to it becoming corporatized. By taking away the patients right to grow his/her own marijuana, the government is going against the spirit of competition and innovation this country was founded upon.

And personally, the most egregious part of this Bill, is that any person previously convicted of a crime “such as myself” can-not be a provider. Most experts on marijuana have been persecuted by Government officials with convictions. The best growers would be excluded. This leaves the amateurs and beginners to attempt to provide quality herb for sick people.

I ask all New Jersey citizens who wishes the state passes a medical marijuana bill, to call your state assembly person and all NJ state legislators to scrap this crap and pass a bill that mirrors California’s Proposition 215, S/B 420 and CA. health & safety code 11362.5. Regardless one day I will be back and my vision is to open a “Rastafarian Temple” in Camden that provides “ganja” – (medical marijuana) to citizens. This will “HIGH” light a glaring Constitutional short coming of this bill, its lack of a religious use clause.