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Pot activist NJ Weedman cooking up a restaurant, temple

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A marijuana activist and sometimes political candidate is set to open his own restaurant in New Jersey’s capital city.

The Trentonian reports (http://bit.ly/1IXDdgs) that Ed Forchion, who calls himself NJ Weedman, is opening the restaurant and an adjoining sanctuary across the street from Trenton’s city hall.

“When I talk to state workers, they say they’re missing that healthy, affordable food option here in the capital city,” Forchion said. “I have bone cancer, so part of the reason a restaurant is important to me is because it gives me an opportunity to eat healthier.”

Forchion has long fought for marijuana legalization in New Jersey, and in 1998 ran for a House seat as the “legalize marijuana party” candidate. He also ran for governor in 2005. In 2000, he was arrested for smoking pot at the Statehouse and later that year was sentenced to 10 years in prison for possessing 25 pounds of marijuana. He was released after serving 16 months but was expelled from an early-release program and spent five months in jail.

In 2008, Forchion opened a marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, the Liberty Bell Temple II, which he said served as a sanctuary for members of the Rastafarian faith. But it was shut down after a much-publicized federal drug raid in 2011.

Forchion said marijuana activists from around the country sent him donations to open the restaurant, called NJ Weedman’s Joint. Next to it will be Liberty Bell Temple III, a spiritual center that will also offer coffee and Wi-Fi.

Forchion said marijuana will not be on the menu at either location. Instead he hired a chef, who is also a personal trainer, to create a healthy menu.

“I was 247 (pounds) and I dropped down to 185 when I started eating healthier,” said Wair, whose culinary background includes Caribbean influences. “Healthy eating is so essential. You are what you eat.”

The restaurant is awaiting a health inspection scheduled for next week.

Forchion said the restaurant will give away food samples to city workers who stop by the business between now and the grand opening June 15.

“I’m obviously catering to the cannabis consuming community in the area, but I also I want to tap into the artsy crowd here in Trenton,” Forchion said.

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Information from: The (Trenton, N.J.) Trentonian, http://www.trentonian.com

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