Marijuana activist and Trentonian columnist Ed Forchion has leased two adjoining East State Street properties and will soon open a restaurant and spiritual sanctuary.
“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,” said Forchion, who calls himself “Weedman.”
The properties, located directly across the street from City Hall, will be named NJ Weedman’s Joint and Liberty Bell Temple III. The business is scheduled to open June 15, but on Monday afternoon about a dozen people were gathered at the restaurant as a chef cooked turkey burgers and Forchion explained his vision.
The restaurant portion of the business will open at 6 a.m. on weekdays and serve affordable, healthy food, Forchion said. The menu will not offer any pork or beef, and will feature items such as sushi, pasta, fish, chicken, roasted vegetable platters, healthy soups, fruit platters, fresh sandwich wraps and more. There will also be a vegetarian menu, Forchion said, and the restaurant will offer natural energy drinks such as fruit smoothies, breakfast shakes and blended juices.
“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. I’m going to invite cancer patients and other people struggling with health issues to eat here every day.”
Forchion hired Chef Maurice Wair, who has 18 years of cooking experience and is also a personal trainer.
“I was 247 lbs. and I dropped down to 185 when I started eating healthier,” Wair said. “Healthy eating is so essential. You are what you eat.”
Forchion and Wair plan to offer a meal called the “Writ of Habeas Corpus” to attract attorneys, judges and other law enforcement personnel to the restaurant.
“The Writ is going to be a five-star meal without the five-star price,” Forchion said. “I’m right next door to a federal courthouse, and I want the prosecutors and other attorneys to come check us out.”
The property next to the restaurant will be what Forchion describes as “Weedbucks” during the day, and after business hours it will become the Liberty Bell Temple III. The sanctuary, which can seat approximately 15 people, will include free WiFi; and Forchion plans to stock and serve Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and Bob Marley Coffee blends. Forchion plans to have a door constructed between the two properties before the grand opening so patrons can walk between the restaurant and sanctuary without leaving the building. The sanctuary will also become the new broadcast studio for Forchion’s radio show: FullyBakedRadio.com.
“There will be a lot of peace and love, and this will be a place where people can network,” Forchion said.
The restaurant and sanctuary soon to open on East State Street is not Forchion’s first attempt at running a business. He opened and operated the first two Liberty Bell temples while living in Los Angeles, California. The second temple closed in 2011 after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided the property. Forchion has a partner who helped him start the business here in Trenton, and they also received donations from marijuana activists throughout the state as well as across the country, Forchion said.
“I’ve been to other states that have these types of places and it’s finally good to know that we will have one here in New Jersey,” Wayne Burrini, a medical marijuana patient who stopped by the restaurant Monday, said.
Forchion said the business will not sell marijuana. The restaurant is fully operational now, but the health inspector isn’t scheduled to visit until next week. Between now and the grand opening, Forchion said, the restaurant will randomly give away food samples to city workers who stop by the business.
“For my New Years resolution I said that I wanted to open up the Liberty Bell Temple III and that’s what I’ve been working on for the past few months,” Forchion said. “In the state of New Jersey, there are approximately 5,000 medical marijuana patients who I am hoping will come here whenever they visit Trenton.”