|Photo: Kathy Johnson/MyCentralJersey|
|John Wilson, an MS patient, at his sentencing Friday for growing medical marijuana|
A New Jersey man with multiple sclerosis was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for growing marijuana — which he said was for medicinal purposes — in his back yard.
Wilson, 37, was growing 17 marijuana plants.
Tragically, the sentence handed down to John Wilson is the minimum prison term he could have received under New Jersey law, reports Michael Deak at MyCentralJersey.com.
Wilson’s attorney, James Wronko, said he plans to file a motion to stay the sentence pending an appeal.
According to Superior Court Judge Robert Reed, who handed down the sentence, Wilson could be eligible in six months for the New Jersey Intensive Supervision Program in which some state prison inmates have an opportunity to work their way back into the community.
Because this is Wilson’s first conviction, Reed did not sentence Wilson to a period of parole ineligibility. Wilson could be eligible parole in just over a year.
“It’s the least period of imprisonment I could impose,” said Reed.
The state attorney general’s office, which prosecuted the case, was heartlessly asking Judge Reed to impose a seven-year sentence.
Wronko said Wilson began using marijuana to treat the symptoms of MS, with which he was diagnosed in 2002, because he did not have insurance and could not afford prescriptions.
Before Reed handed down the sentence, Wilson admitted he had broken the law.
“I am not a bad person,” he told the judge. “I just made a horrible mistake. I’m truly sorry what what I’ve done.”