The Trenton city council has introduced an ordinance earlier this month that sets forth five dispensaries — down from 10 — and in three city zones. The downtown shopping areas are not included.
“The City Council is engaged in buffoonery if they think eliminating dispensaries from downtown is something good,” says Ed Forchion, whose dispensary Weedman’s Joint is about two blocks from the state Motor Vehicle Commission’s regional center. “It’s an absolute mistake. “Trenton is an economically distressed city. Why would they not want this business coming to city?”
Forchion said he’s pretty skilled from his legal issues in the past, which range from scores of arrests from motor-vehicle stops to the Trenton police and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office raiding the joint in 2016 and charging Forchion with several drug-dealing felonies. He was jailed for a year and took the case to trial, twice, and won acquittals in 2017 and 2018.
The lawyer assisting Forchion with his legal sales efforts, Sam Redlich, says Forchion will apply for local or state licenses to continue to operation from his location. And if the council passes the ordinance, Forchion will apply for a zoning variance.
Forchion could also license his name and have his weed sold by other businesses. “Ed’s going to win in the end,” Redlich said. “There are 565 towns in New Jersey and Trenton seems to be a dramatic one.”
Others have questioned it too, like Trenton mayor Reed Gusciora, who supported the 10 dispensaries and also wants the downtown included. He’s been to the Joint, and said he’s been ordering sandwiches from the joint since before he was elected mayor. “The food is always fresh,” he said.
Gusciora said Forchion has been at City Hall for a meeting about marijuana too, but the mayor said he’s just one of many people he’s met with over the issue. He’s also been to Baltimore and Florida to visit cannabis businesses to educate himself on the issue.
Councilman Jerell Blakeley said he’ll try to change the ordinance with amendments before a final vote. In a multi-paragraph Facebook post, he wrote: “(T)he presented ordinance…steers legal cannabis businesses to a handful of isolated industrial zones with little foot traffic. This rotten maneuver puts legal cannabis firmly outside of Trenton’s economic mainstream…
“I am deeply concerned that the proposed ordinance would ensure that the amazing benefits of legal cannabis businesses will bypass Trenton.”
Forchion is ready for another fight, one he hopes will not happen. “I will be fighting it like I fight everything else, with lawyers, civil disobedience — there are no plans in my mind to shut down,” he said.