Cannabis Activist Ed Forchion Challenges New Jersey on Race, Reefer and Religion Before the U.S. Supreme Court [News]

Ed Forchion

By Jack Barnes

In perhaps one of the boldest moves in the recent history of marijuana activism, long time cannabis advocate and Trentonian newspaper columnist, Ed Forchion aka NJWeedman, and his lawyers, New Jersey attorneys Allan Marain, Esq. and John Vincent Saykanic, Esq., are challenging the state of New Jersey before the United States Supreme Court regarding pertinent issues pertaining to reefer, racial discrimination and religion. Forchion’s legal team filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court (US Supreme Court Docket – 15-8533) on March 8, 2016, presenting ten questions for review and response from the Court.

Per the subject of race and religion, as it relates to cannabis, the filing marks a landmark stance in the marijuana movement. Forchion considers the petition a direct challenge to recently revealed comments by former Nixon domestic policy chief,John Ehrlichman, that the war on drugs was a political assault against blacks and hippies. (http://tinyurl.com/http-www-cnn-com-2016-03-23)
The document leads with its most powerful query, directly asking the presiding judges, “Are New Jersey’s drug laws inherently discriminatory against African Americans and discriminatory as applied by law enforcement?”
In addition, the other questions presented to the Court include:
2. Has New Jersey decided an important federal question in a way that conflicts with other state courts of last resort as petitioner was precluded from arguing to the jury by way of nullification that marijuana should not be a substance proscribed by New Jersey as part of his defense at trial?
3. Is a state court of last resort in hopeless conflict with the United States Court of Appeals concerning First Amendment Free Exercise Clause as it relates to the right to use marijuana as a religious sacrament?
4. Does New Jersey’s criminalization of marijuana deprive Rastafarians of their sacramental use of cannabis in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act?

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