Ed “NJWeedman” Forchion hopes the Oct.18, 2012 not-guilty verdict a Burlington County, N.J. jury rendered in his pot distribution trial plants a seed for other medical marijuana patients and sparks a change in the law.
“I expected to get one juror, but I got 12.”
It was a case of jury nullification, which Forchion hopes will be utilized in other court cases involving marijuana possession.
Forchion is the first defendant in New Jersey to be allowed to present his use of medical marijuana as a defense in a criminal trial. He possessed a pound of marijuana that he claimed he used for medicinal purposes. (He owns a medical marijuana dispensary in California.) He admitted that he will still face sentencing in January 2013 for possession, but believes that he will get probation on that charge.
The concept of jury nullification is nothing new. In the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, who was charged with printing libelous material about William Cosby, the Governor of the Colony of New York, a clearly guilty Zenger was found not guilty by a jury who sympathized with him. This is clearly a case where jury nullification foreshadowed present-day law where one can openly say something about a public figure without fear of prosecution because said figure was “offended.”Details