N.J. Lawmakers Urge Governor To Pardon Medical Pot Patient


Photo: Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger
John Ray Wilson, a multiple sclerosis patient, is led out of Superior Court after being sentenced to five years in prison for marijuana.

‚ÄčTwo New Jersey lawmakers called on Gov. Chris Christie Wednesday to pardon a man sentenced to five years in prison for growing marijuana to treat his multiple sclerosis.

Senators Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) asked the governor to commute John Ray Wilson’s sentence to probation, reports James Queally at The Star-Ledger.
The senators called the prison term facing Wilson as “cruel, unusual and unnecessary” in a letter written to the governor March 24. Wilson, 37, of Franklin Township, N.J., was sentenced to prison after he was found guilty of second-degree “marijuana manufacturing” and third-degree drug possession by a jury in December.

“The decision to bring drug manufacturing charges against Mr. Wilson demonstrates a clear case of absence of prosecutorial discretion,” the senators wrote. “That is cruel, unusual and unnecessary.”
Wilson, who says he grew the 17 marijuana plants and psilocybin mushrooms found in his back yard to treat his multiple sclerosis, was acquitted of the most serious charge against him, first degree operation of a drug-manufacturing facility.
Judge Robert Reed tried to defend the sentence last week in front of a Somerville, N.J., courtroom filled by outraged supporters of the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. The heartless judge cited Wilson’s criminal record and the fact that he was smoking marijuana for years before he was diagnosed with MS.
Wilson became something of a poster child for passage of New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, which ironically still doesn’t allow the cultivation of plants by patients. The law will allow state residents to obtain doctor’s recommendations to use marijuana to treat chronic and debilitating diseases, starting in July.
Michael Drewniak, spokesman for Gov. Christie, wouldn’t comment on the letter from senators Lesnia and Scutari.
“We appreciate their support,” said Wilson’s attorney, James Wronko. “But if Gov. Corzine didn’t grant him a pardon, I don’t have a lot of hope that a brand new governor in the midst of a financial crisis is going to divert his attention to pardon Mr. Wilson.”