“NJ Weedman” Retrial Postponed Until September
Last week in the trial of Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion, a jury found him guilty of possession of marijuana in Burlington County. However, they could not reach a verdict on intent to distribute the pound of marijuana that Mr. Forchion was found with in his rental car. Mr. Forchion is a licensed medical marijuana user in California for the treatment of large bone tumors in his legs. Mr. Forchion put forward a defense that the marijuana was for personal use only.
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Originally a retrial on the distribution charge was set for the end of May, but the judge in the case moved the retrial date to September 4th. This new date will accommodate the judge’s schedule and allow for pretrial motions before the trial. Mr. Forchion is expected to put forward a motion asking the court to set aside the guilty verdict for possession and dismiss the intent to distribute charge.
Our Burlington County criminal defense lawyer knows that drug charges, like possession of marijuana or intent to distribute, can carry serious punishments following convicted. It is vital for all those dealing with these charges to ensure their best possible defense is argued. In Mr. Forchion’s case the state is pointing to the sheer volume of marijuana as an indication that Mr. Forchion intended to distribute the drugs. However, Mr. Forchion’s lawyer argued that the marijuana was for person medical use for the week that he was to be in New Jersey visiting family. Fortunately, juries are starting to question whether large quantities of marijuana alone are enough to prove intent to distribute. Our Appellate Division also recently recognized this limitation in State v. Jones by ruling that the State can no longer simply present a police officer as an “expert” on whether drugs are possessed with intent to distribute.
The postponement of the retrial also allows Mr. Forchion to return to his home in California. The court allowed Mr. Forchion to go free on his own recognizance until the retrial after he signed an extradition waiver guaranteeing that he will return for the retrial in September. As a result of this decision, Mr. Forchion will receive the $5,000 he posted as bail and is free to return to his place of employment in California.
Getting help with New Jersey Drug Charges
While drug charges, like possession of marijuana and intent to distribute, are serious matters, Mr. Forchion’s case shows that with proper legal advice there are options when dealing with an arrest. The first thing to do when faced with drug charges is to contact a Burlington County criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help explain your rights and advocate for you in and out of court at every step of the process.
The New Jersey legislature is currently debating changes to the marijuana drug laws. Click here to read a previous post on potential marijuana decriminalization in our state. It is important that you have an attorney that keeps up with the changing law to make sure that you are provided the best representation when faced with drug charges. Every criminal case is slightly different, but in most situations a defendant has options in order to fight the charges or mitigate the long-term consequences.
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