Pot activist sentenced to probation

Jan. 17, 2013 at 6:11 PM

NEWARK, N.J., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- An activist for legal marijuana has been sentenced in New Jersey to two years probation after being caught with a pound of weed in his car.

A judge also imposed more than $3,400 in fines and fees on Ed Forchion, a New Jersey native who resides in Los Angeles, for possession, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Forchion, 46, was convicted by a jury in October of possession. He was acquitted of more serious drug distribution charges that could have gotten him 10 years in prison.

During his trial, he argued that criminal and medical-marijuana laws are inconsistent, and said the pound of weed that was found in his vehicle on April 1, 2010, was for medical use and not distribution.

Assistant Prosecutor Michael Luciano recommended that Forchion serve 12 months in prison, while Don Ackerman, Forchion's public defender, argued that his client was receiving experimental treatment for a rare disorder that appeared to be working and that the treatment could not be continued if he went to prison.

The judge said Wednesday probation was warranted because Forchion did "not fit among a group of hardened criminals that include murderers [and] rapists," and permitted him to serve his probation in California so he is able to continue his treatment.

After the hearing, Forchion said, "I'm happy I'm not going to prison, but it was what I expected."

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