Protesting pot prohibition while black: Angered by Racist Prosecutions, Activist Makes Inflammatory Name Change Request
By Linn Washington Jr.
Ed Forchion, recognized as America’s foremost black marijuana legalization activist, freely admits that he “agitates” people – powerful people from prosecutors to politicians and even more mainstream anti-pot prohibition advocates who bristle at his antics.
The activism of Forchion, often outrageous like his March 2000 stunt of smoking a marijuana joint inside the New Jersey State Assembly chamber while dressed in bold black and white stripped jailhouse garb, has drawn praise and prison terms.
Forchion’s activism has produced a few legal victories like a February 2003 federal court ruling enhancing Free Speech rights for all pot legalization advocates. That ruling also freed Forchion from a prison stint arising from his clash with NJ probation authorities over their demands that he stop publicly criticizing Drug War racism.
Forchion’s imprisonments during the past year arising from yet another pot possession conviction triggered him to pursue perhaps his most bodacious act to date, another attempt to formally change his name, this time seeking a name change to: Just a Nigger.
“I know this is going to make a lot of people mad. But, I’m mad at being constantly mistreated by police, prosecutors and judges,” Forchion said during an interview.
For over a decade Forchion has occasionally employed that ‘Just a Nigger’ phrase on his popular pro-pot website whenever he’s endured set-backs from his advocacy, for example when when a New Jersey judge stripped child custody rights from Forchion, calling pot prohibition opposition criminal conduct, or when NJ prosecutors reneged on plea deals that once left him languishing in prison 18-months longer than the terms of a plea deal. Perhaps the worst example was when federal agents in October 2011 smashed up Forchion’s thriving legal medical marijuana businesses in Los Angeles in a raid triggered by New Jersey prosecutors who had falsely claimed that Forchion was operating a pot-smuggling operation from California to New JerseyJ.
That NJ prosecutor-instigated DEA raid, which shut down Forchion’s lawful LA businesses led to no arrests, but it cost Forchion’s 17 employees their jobs and left him without any income. Forchion said when he moved to Los Angeles in 2008 he became a “pot capitalist,” putting aside his pot activism. Now, his business destroyed by prosecutorial misconduct, his activism has since resumed with a vengeance.
Forchion, who twice attempted to change his name to NJ Weedman.com – unsuccessfully – feels compelled to make a statement with this latest attempt to change his name to ‘Just a Nigger’ regardless of the likelihood of success...
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