2nd week of hunger strike for NJ Weedman protesting his bail reform lock-up
TRENTON — The man known as the NJ Weedman is staging a hunger strike while he is held in the Mercer County Corrections Center awaiting trial on witness tampering charges.
The charges stem from an April 2016 raid on his restaurant and pot temple across the street from City Hall. As those charges hung over him, he was arrested again a year later after prosecutors accused him of putting their informant in danger by outing his name and picture on social media. Forchion says his intention was not to intimidate the informant.
Having been held since March 3, Forchion said in a news release this week that he has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the new bail laws in the state violate his civil rights.
The bail rules that went into effect this year have allowed most criminal defendants — including ones accused of violent crimes — to be released from custody without bail as they await trial. But a judge ordered Forchion to be held indefinitely because the new rules allow judges to keep defendants locked up if they are considered a danger to victims or witnesses.
As of Thursday, his hunger strike has been going on for more than 10 days.
"I am a peaceful, proud and patriotic pothead," he says in the release. "Yet I have sat here for over 100 days in a cell while watching real criminals, like murderers and rapists, get released daily on bail. Nothing I did was illegal."
Forchion said he had only released the informant's identity on the advice of an attorney, who no longer represents him.
In addition to the witness tampering, Forchion was indicted on cyber-bullying charges after he called a Trenton officer a pedophile in a video he posted online.
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