cannabisnews.com: Reefer Madness? High Times Over for NJ Weedman





Reefer Madness? High Times Over for NJ Weedman
Posted by CN Staff on August 14, 2005 at 10:07:12 PT
By Monica Yant Kinney, Inquirer Columnist
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
New Jersey voters will have almost a dozen choices for governor this fall, but none of the candidates cuts a figure quite like Ed Forchion. Forchion is the dreadlocked Rastafarian free-speech activist better known as the "NJ Weedman."Like always, he's running on the Marijuana Party ticket. Slight problem: "The Weedman has become the Weedlessman," he tells me. "I haven't smoked a joint in almost three months."
Not only is Ed not actively campaigning, but for the first time in years, he's not planning any future run.He might even cut his hair.The media missed the news about the Weedman's going straight, but it's not exactly their fault.Most of the political reporters in the state have spent the last week fretting over Doug Forrester's campaign finance fiasco and Jon Corzine's expensive love life.Ed used to hold news conferences on the Statehouse steps whenever he felt his right to talk about toking was being trampled - which was often.These days, you have to catch him on the road on his mobile.The Weedman's got a new mission.This one's about money and, maybe, making things up to his wife and kids.Talking About TokingThose who think he's just a loudmouth loser miss the point.For starters, Ed's the most lucid stoner I've ever met. Even judges who've ruled on his self-fought cases give him props for polished presentations and sound legal arguments.It was never as much about pot for Ed as it was the right to talk about a subject others would prefer he not.Sort of like the military moms protesting outside President Bush's ranch?"During the buildup to the war, when the President was lying about weapons of mass destruction," Ed explains, "I was in jail for making commercials about marijuana."Every time he got busted speaking out, he raised his voice a little louder.He distrusts cops but came to respect the civil court system, where, Ed says, "you can get vengeance without being a vigilante."When the parolee got thrown in jail for proselytizing about pot, he sued and won, arguing that the real crime was locking him up to shut him up.When New Jersey passed a law requiring parolees to submit DNA to a criminal database, he sued and won, arguing that it amounted to an after-the-fact punishment.Other stunts fell flat, such as his bid to legally change his name to NJWeedman.com. A judge said the name would promote a criminal enterprise.Ed knows about crime. In 1997, he got busted hooking his brother up with a dealer who shipped 40 pounds of pot to Jersey by FedEx.Ed took a plea, but still got 10 years.It cost him his truck-driving career, a house and his place in the middle class. Now, he wants back in.Ramblin' OnIt gets old getting arrested every time you talk. And, expensive.Last year, the chronically underemployed Weedman got a job as a courier making $600 a week, only to lose it after his bosses saw him protesting Gov. McGreevey on TV.He's still fighting a federal case over lighting up at the Liberty Bell.But after two recent arrests for campaigning in Trenton and Seaside Heights, Ed says he's sick of suing."I'm a patriotic pothead," he insists, "but I'm tired of being a one-man show. It gets old."Other activists think he's "a wacko." And ultimately, either he failed or "the courts failed me."This spring, Ed fixed his driving record and got another trucking job. I caught up with him by phone hauling bottled water from Maine to Allentown.It's good money, and there's plenty of it to be made.With a relative's help, he put a down payment on an 18-wheeler.Driving a big rig brings big risk, responsibility and random drug tests. So he doesn't dare smoke."Imagine if I had an accident," he says. "Imagine the headline: 'The Weedman kills driving high.' "Anyway, now that he's trucking again, Ed wants to focus on work and repay his wife, who juggled two jobs to support the family and his habits."My daughter just turned 10," Ed explains. "Her whole life, I've been the Weedman and we've been poor."Maybe if he keeps a low profile as "just Ed" for a while, the Forchions' fortunes will improve.Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)Author:  Monica Yant Kinney, Inquirer ColumnistPublished: Sunday, August 14, 2005Copyright: 2005 Philadelphia Newspapers IncContact: Inquirer.Letters phillynews.comWebsite: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/CannabisNews -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on August 17, 2005 at 11:57:03 PT
A book
I can imagine a rather successful book, called "Forty Pounds of Pot", written by Ed "Weedman" Forchion.Perhaps a pocket recorder to carry with you to record thoughts and ideas when you have them, wherever you are, would be a good idea.
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Comment #22 posted by Hope on August 17, 2005 at 11:46:52 PT
Mr. Forchion
Very few people have been as brave as you at "pushing the envelope". You have made a lot of people think about the war on drugs that might not have given it much thought. I don't know where timidity crosses the line into cowardice...but you have been...and are, neither.Your boldness and brilliance have always astounded me. I would think that you will be able, if it doesn't interfere with your job, to get some really powerful work printed in New Jersey newspapers that might overlook the work of some of the rest of us.You've made a name for yourself...literally...and I suspect that you are going to get even more done towards the goal of ending the oppression of so many people, in these next, less volatile phases of your quest.Blessings and all good things to you and your family. I have a feeling you're just getting started on even greater, though perhaps, quieter, accomplishments than ever before.
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Comment #21 posted by FORCHION -njweedman on August 17, 2005 at 05:48:56 PT:
YESTERDAY'S STORY --
DIRECT URL: - http://www.trentonian.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15040892&BRD=1697&PAG=461&dept_id=44551&rfi=6THE TRENTONIAN - 8/16/2005No more hits on a bong. No more toking on a joint. No more marijuana.Thatís right Robert Edward "Weedman" Forchion, 41, of Pemberton, says he has quit smoking pot and is headed for the straight and narrow."I am Weedlessman now," Forchion said in a telephone interview yesterday. "And it doesnít have anything to do with me changing my mind on the substance, but I got a job I really like now." Forchion says he has cut out his marijuana use since getting a job back in May. At first he quit to take a drug test for the job, but then he decided to just quit altogether."Itís been more than two months since I smoked (pot), but I had slowed down before that," he said.Forchion explained his wife and children played a big role in his decision."A lot of this has to do with my family," Forchion said. "Every time I get arrested my wife has to come bail me out. Itís been a lot on my family."Forchion, a Rastafarian by faith and a pro-marijuana legalization activist, was fired from a job about this time last year after, he says, his bosses mistakenly thought he took part in an anti-gay protest against former Gov. Jim McGreevey outside the State House, and became aware of his religious beliefs and political views.Those that adhere to the teachings of the Rastafarian religion believe that smoking marijuana is a sacrament similar to the Jewish and Christian use of wine.Although still very much a follower of the Rastafarian religion, Forchion now says he is concerned about keeping the job he has come to love with an understanding that arrests and other run-ins with the judicial system all take a financial toll."I need to make money," Forchion said. "Iíve been poor for a long time." He says the turning point in his decision to quit smoking came after his arrest at the State House by New Jersey State troopers after he reportedly refused to leave the building when his request to go to Press Row was denied.Forchion was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and defiant trespass. He is now in the midst of a legal battle with the arresting State Police officer.A few weeks later, Forchion had another run-in with police officers at the Jersey Shore. He was distributing information on the boardwalk for his Legalize Marijuana Party. An officer told him to move because the boardwalk was not public property. Forchion said he disagreed, but moved to a nearby street corner but police were not satisfied and arrested him.Forchion has made frequent runs for public office in the past, and now has his sights set on another office. He wants to be governor of New Jersey and admits that cutting out the marijuana use will help his candidacy."How can I campaign if every time I go out the police are coming after me," Forchion said. "Iím not going to take my name off the ballot, and Iím still going to give the finger to the system."Forchion says he will continue to push for his political views, but will also remain concerned about his own safety."I know Iím right, but I donít want to end up dead right," Forchion said. "Iím afraid one of these cops is going to shoot me, and then what? Oops."Most police officers understand free speech, but there are a few who donít. Those are the ones who worry me."Forchionís run-ins with the law have made headlines over the years.In 1997, Forchion was arrested for possession of more than 40 pounds of pot.He served 17 months of a 10-year prison sentence and was released in April 2002. He was thrown back in jail four months later after he produced a pro-marijuana commercial but was released because a judge determined the commercial was protected by his First Amendment rights.In 2000, Forchion took his cause to the stateís General Assembly and made a point by lighting up a joint inside the Assembly Chamber as the legislative body was in session. He was never prosecuted."I think Iím pretty much done with it," Forchion said. "Iím not going to give the police reason to arrest for no reason." -- Charles Webster is the State House reporter for The Trentonian. He can be reached at cwebster4 trentonian.com. ©The Trentonian 2005
 
This is the picture they used for this story: http://www.njweedman.com/capitalsteps.bmp 
NJWEEDMAN - SUPERHERO of the POTHEADS!
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Comment #20 posted by Richard Zuckerman on August 16, 2005 at 15:18:24 PT:
PLEASANT FELLOW!
I've met Ed Forchion on two separate occasions! Once, I drove him home from the annual NORML Conference, in Washington D.C., perhaps in 2003. The other time was by happenstance at the Richard Hughes Justice Complex, Trenton, N.J., when I was visiting same building to file papers with the Appellate Division. I gave him literature, perhaps a Law Review article, about Jury Nullification. Ed Forchion seems like a personable kind of guy. Unfortunately, Ed is a convicted felon. I would prefer vote for a 3rd Party candidate who would take office if voted in. Ergo, I plan to vote for only Ralph Nader, Libertarian Party, or Green Party candidates, for ALL public offices up for election. I write in candidates if only Democruds and Republicrappers are running. By the way, in case the reader is wondering about the nature of my felony conviction: I sent a threat to a federal judge during a civil rights lawsuit asking to [1] strike down the Marijuana laws, [2] to strike down New Jersey's possession of a firearm by a convicted disorderly person drug offender statute [N.J.S.A. 2C:39-7, which, unbeknownst to me, had already been amended to require the predicate conviction to be a FELONY drug conviction!]; [3] to expunge a military psychiatric evaluation and commitment. It was an exercise of poor judgment. It will not happen again. I did my 30 months federal jail time! Am I to be persecuted for the rest of my life over this? Nobody got hurt. I was "...the rhetoric of hyperbole that comes so easily to the lips of angry Americans," U.S. v. Schneiderman, 7th Cir., circa 2000. This October will mark the 10th year after my discharge from Supervised Release. This is the only felony conviction on my record. But one is enough! I was denied an opportunity to vote in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the last Election with the Marijuana Legalization ballot measure. I quit Emergency Medical Technician training, in Los Angeles, California, because the teacher said they will not Certify any EMT with a felony conviction. I have been routinely denied employment as a long distance truck driver [I have a New Jersey Commercial Drivers License] because going into Canada would be a problem and they don't want to risk valuable trailer loads to a convicted felon. I am legally barred from purchasing a firearm; Despite the Code of Federal Regulations provision allowing a prospective firearms purchaser to show relief of civil disabilities, Congress will not fund the processing of these applications, and the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to require these applications to be processed. Unlike some States, the federal laws do not provide a means to expunge a conviction, except one Young Drug Offenders law. My ONLY means of recovering my civil rights is a PRESIDENTIAL PARDON. With a Bush in office, I am not too hopeful for this. Try reading the Web article entitled "NOTABLE PARDONS"? According to "NOTABLE PARDONS," Hispanics whom shot Congressmen received a Presidential Pardon or Commutation of Sentence! Even New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was granted a Presidential Pardon after having been convicted of illegal political campaign contributions. Note that many of those people who received a Presidential Pardons caused some kind of damages, e.g., stole money, damaged property or person. My crime did not cause any such damage. Ed Forchion may be one of the lucky ones a U.S. President might take a liking to and grant a Presidential Pardon!
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Comment #19 posted by FORCHION -njweedman on August 16, 2005 at 08:37:56 PT:
REEFER MADNESS -- 
I just wanted to tell everyone that I haven't totally quit! It's just that I don't need to be the target of the police or the zealots anymore! When I announced that I was running for Governor last year I was fired from my job (http://www.njweedman.com/fired ) - 
On May 11th while going to PRESS ROW at the state house I was attacked by a State-Trooper (http://www.njweedman.com/attacked.html ) On Memorial day May 30th while campaigning at the Seaside Heights boardwalk I was arrested (http://www.njweedman.com/seaside_heights.htm ). Each of these incidents cost not only me but my family lots of money. No-one helps me in this movement. I'm a one-man gang a lot of the "administrators" of this movement regard me as a "WACKO" while here in New Jersey I'm a celebrity/hero. Whether anyone agree's or not I've been the face of legalization in New Jersey.I recently got a job and want to keep it for my families sake. But what really piss's me off is both the New Jersey Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney General's have refused to protect my right to campaign! I wrote a letter of complaint to both of them and I didn't even get a response so I left with continueing like this or defending myself. We all know what would happen if I defend myself. I'll either end up dead, on the run or in prison for the rest of my life.PLEASE READ THE LETTER I WROTE TO THE AG(s) - http://www.njweedman.com/AG_letter_July_27th.htm____________________________________________________This was in today's TRENTONIAN the paper in the state capital._______________URL: - http://www.trentonian.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15040892&BRD=1697&PAG=461&dept_id=44551&rfi=6
 
Itís no toke: ĎWeedmaní quits pot: Activist giving up the bong but not the faith 
 
 
TRENTON -- The Weedman is going straight. No more hits on a bong. No more toking on a joint. No more marijuana.
 
Thatís right Robert Edward "Weedman" Forchion, 41, of Pemberton, says he has quit smoking pot and is headed for the straight and narrow."I am Weedlessman now," Forchion said in a telephone interview yesterday. "And it doesnít have anything to do with me changing my mind on the substance, but I got a job I really like now." Forchion says he has cut out his marijuana use since getting a job back in May. At first he quit to take a drug test for the job, but then he decided to just quit altogether.
 
"Itís been more than two months since I smoked (pot), but I had slowed down before that," he said.Forchion explained his wife and children played a big role in his decision."A lot of this has to do with my family," Forchion said. "Every time I get arrested my wife has to come bail me out. Itís been a lot on my family."Forchion, a Rastafarian by faith and a pro-marijuana legalization activist, was fired from a job about this time last year after, he says, his bosses mistakenly thought he took part in an anti-gay protest against former Gov. Jim McGreevey outside the State House, and became aware of his religious beliefs and political views.Those that adhere to the teachings of the Rastafarian religion believe that smoking marijuana is a sacrament similar to the Jewish and Christian use of wine.Although still very much a follower of the Rastafarian religion, Forchion now says he is concerned about keeping the job he has come to love with an understanding that arrests and other run-ins with the judicial system all take a financial toll."I need to make money," Forchion said. "Iíve been poor for a long time." He says the turning point in his decision to quit smoking came after his arrest at the State House by New Jersey State troopers after he reportedly refused to leave the building when his request to go to Press Row was denied.Forchion was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and defiant trespass. He is now in the midst of a legal battle with the arresting State Police officer.A few weeks later, Forchion had another run-in with police officers at the Jersey Shore. He was distributing information on the boardwalk for his Legalize Marijuana Party. An officer told him to move because the boardwalk was not public property. Forchion said he disagreed, but moved to a nearby street corner but police were not satisfied and arrested him.Forchion has made frequent runs for public office in the past, and now has his sights set on another office. He wants to be governor of New Jersey and admits that cutting out the marijuana use will help his candidacy."How can I campaign if every time I go out the police are coming after me," Forchion said. "Iím not going to take my name off the ballot, and Iím still going to give the finger to the system."Forchion says he will continue to push for his political views, but will also remain concerned about his own safety."I know Iím right, but I donít want to end up dead right," Forchion said. "Iím afraid one of these cops is going to shoot me, and then what? Oops."Most police officers understand free speech, but there are a few who donít. Those are the ones who worry me."Forchionís run-ins with the law have made headlines over the years.In 1997, Forchion was arrested for possession of more than 40 pounds of pot.He served 17 months of a 10-year prison sentence and was released in April 2002. He was thrown back in jail four months later after he produced a pro-marijuana commercial but was released because a judge determined the commercial was protected by his First Amendment rights.In 2000, Forchion took his cause to the stateís General Assembly and made a point by lighting up a joint inside the Assembly Chamber as the legislative body was in session. He was never prosecuted."I think Iím pretty much done with it," Forchion said. "Iím not going to give the police reason to arrest for no reason." -- Charles Webster is the State House reporter for The Trentonian. He can be reached at cwebster4 trentonian.com. ©The Trentonian 2005 
NJWEEDMAN.COM - Superhero to the Potheads
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on August 15, 2005 at 16:29:07 PT
Toker00
My it is a difficult time. At the end of Live 8 Sir Bob said what a day and what a night. Then the first explosions happened in the UK. We just don't know what tomorrow will bring. It's a very troubling time right now. Ignorance is bliss but it doesn't help bring good change. I think about why the hate towards cannabis people. We all can name the reasons why cannabis is made out to be bad but I mean the hate. That's what I don't understand.
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Comment #17 posted by Toker00 on August 15, 2005 at 15:17:08 PT
I hear ya FoM
I miss my old life. The one before the internet and 9/11. They say ignorance is bliss. I'm beginning to understand that. My mind never rests. My country's flag doesn't mean to me what it did when it was on my fathers casket. I don't watch the news with any belief anymore. The only thing that keeps me fired up is our cause. Our government has been bastardized. Fascism is trampling our constitution. The wars have taken most of our rights away. We have become so apathetic that I really wonder if any change is possible. The speculation and believability that 9/11 was allowed or was created by our government, to happen for sinister reasons I can't even begin to comprehend, gets heavier on my soul every day. How and when did "the people" lose control of our contry? Did we ever have any control? How and when will we take it back? We must take it back. We must.Thank you so much for this site and your time and effort to fight the good fight. I believe everyone is simply getting recharged and rejuvinated for the battles to come. We will prevail. We must.My group had a protest yesterday at a training camp for the "Minute Man" (vigilante) movement. I didn't make it and I need to call and see how it went. Later.END CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW!  
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on August 15, 2005 at 09:37:28 PT
Toker00
I can relate to Ed's exhaustion. I watched F-9/11 again last night on Showtime. It seems like a million years ago that the movie was a hot topic. It wasn't even a year ago. 
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Comment #15 posted by Toker00 on August 15, 2005 at 09:30:41 PT
........
NULIFICATION, too....
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Comment #14 posted by Toker00 on August 15, 2005 at 09:27:42 PT
It will have no affect on the Legalize movement
Yeah, I e-mailed Ed a few times. He felt he was fighting all alone. It gets like that sometimes. You try to involve others in what you know will work, but only if you have turnout in great numbers. It's frustrating with the no-shows. He was literally a one-man show. But what he did alone, we must all start doing collectively. The DEA thinks they have silenced us with the removal of Emery's money. With Forcion completely exhausted by his activism, and the need to be a father and husband rightfully more important to him now, they think another mouth has been shut. It is always calm before the STORM. Many things are happening now that will finally overwhelm. At no time, that I remember, has Cannabis activism been so widespread and strong. They will continue to try to nulify us until we nulify them. One key to unlocking prohibition is JURY NULIFACATION. Another is PEACEFUL PROTEST. Another is CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. So let's pick up our keys and unlock CANNABIS PROHIBITION.Good luck, Ed. a.k.a.(NJ WEEDMAN.COM) END CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW!   
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on August 15, 2005 at 08:22:14 PT
Hope
That's how I think about it too. Ed always scared me because he was so outspoken but when I read how he wants to direct his attention to his family it made me smile because there is nothing more important then our family.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on August 15, 2005 at 08:16:47 PT
The Weedman
I'm glad he's concentrating on his family while he has the chance. When he's old and we're still struggling for peace or enjoying peace...it will be good to have fewer regrets about what he did or didn't do for his family.I know the end of this drug war will be a great gift to our children and all our posterity...but the time and effort devoted to each of his children will mean a lot to him and them, so I'm glad he's devoting himself to them and their personal needs. There's more than one side to the "hero" coin.
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Comment #11 posted by OverwhelmSam on August 15, 2005 at 02:03:14 PT
Like Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall
What a great world it would become if everyone arrested for pot fought their cases this hard. With over 700,000 people arrested for pot each year, the states would simply go broke trying to enforce their ridiculous laws against Cannabis users. Add Jury Nullification and they would finally realize that smoking a joint is not as serious as rape, arresting people for recreational Cannabis use is futile, and prosecuting them is a futile endeavor.Ed thinks he didn't get anywhere, but I think he inspired hundreds and thousands to fight their cases whenever they're faced with prosecution (persecution) over their recreational weed use. Alcohol & Caffiene increase violence, Marijuana reduces violence.
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Comment #10 posted by whig on August 15, 2005 at 01:16:15 PT
The Political System
Many of you believe that the political system, engagement in elections, voting campaigns, and the like, are the way that things can be changed. To the extent that these activities perform an educational role, garner public and media attention, and increase the level of social support for our position, wonderful good may come of it, so long as we do not seek actually to legitimate the existing power structure.I tell you that the fruit of this tree is rotten, and moreover it is spoiled and desecrated to the very roots. The state is diseased and decaying, and its poison pervades everything it does.Weather forecast: Dark, with continuing periods of darkness until morning. Morning will come eventually, keep safe and warm in the meantime.
Read this and weep.
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Comment #9 posted by Max Flowers on August 14, 2005 at 22:09:53 PT
About Ed F.
Yeah I wasn't saying it literally really, just saying that he has a sharp legal mind. Hey, whatever he wants to do... it's a free country... or, it used to be anyway
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on August 14, 2005 at 20:33:35 PT
Hope 
I'm sure that Ed uses his talking skills when he is on the road. That's activism but we don't know about it and it could help alot.runruff I don't know the name but it's a nice page. Thank you.
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on August 14, 2005 at 20:12:41 PT:
Have you seen this site yet?
Anyone trying is a hero of mine.Namaste
http://briancbennett.com
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on August 14, 2005 at 20:05:43 PT
BGreen
Stick hasn't been out in the truck since the end of May. Other drivers that he knows are parked too. The freight is very slow so he is helping the crew build here since he is a good carpenter too. Our truck and trailer are paid off so we don't have a payment anymore luckily. It's almost impossible to make a living if you have a big payment. Something has to give and that means freight rate hikes which will filter back to the consumers. Inflation is getting out of control. All over oil and war. It's a down right pity.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on August 14, 2005 at 19:59:14 PT
NJ Weedman
If I remember correctly, he was a truck driver before all his legal troubles began. He's doing what he knows and I hope, likes. I respect him so much for all he's done and he can continue to be an activist, I hope.
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Comment #4 posted by BGreen on August 14, 2005 at 19:53:52 PT
Your own truck and trailer
Can Stick even afford to drive anywhere?Something has to stop the record high fuel prices which have given the oil companies record high profits before our truckers go broke trying to transport our goods.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 14, 2005 at 14:36:55 PT
Max Flowers
 Ed probably wants to be a truck driver. If it's making him happy isn't that what is important. My husband has provided well for us and he owns his own truck and trailer. 
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Comment #2 posted by Max Flowers on August 14, 2005 at 13:38:30 PT
Ed F.
 - Last year, the chronically underemployed Weedman got a job as a courier making $600 a week, only to lose it after his bosses saw him protesting Gov. McGreevey on TV. - If they fired him for his political views, that's illegal and he has a great civil case against the former employer. I'm amazed he's not pursuing that...?He's a very sharp guy, his legal argument about cannabis qualifying for grandfather exemption from the CSA was amazing and is right on the money. I think he should be a legal investigator, not a truck driver.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 14, 2005 at 10:19:17 PT
What a Nice Article
I wish Ed great success in his driving career and life.
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