N.J. Man With M.S. Free On Bail While Appealing 5-Year Pot Sentence


Photo: Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger
John Ray Wilson, a multiple sclerosis patient, has been granted $15,000 bail so he can remain free while appealing his five-year prison sentence for growing 17 marijuana plants behind his home

‚ÄčA Franklin Township, N.J., man who was sent to prison for growing marijuana which he said was used to treat his multiple sclerosis will remain free on $15,000 bail while he appeals his conviction, a Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday.

John Ray Wilson, 37, is serving a five-year sentence for second-degree “drug manufacturing” and third-degree drug possession for growing 17 marijuana plants behind the house he rented, reports Jennifer Golson at The Star-Ledger.

On Monday, a panel of appellate judges ruled that Wilson could remain free on bail while appealing his conviction. They sent the case back to the Superior Court, where Judge Robert Reed held a brief hearing and set Wilson’s bail.
Reed, who presided over Wilson’s trial in December, had previously denied the motion filed by defense lawyer James Wronko, asking the judge to let Wilson remain free on bail.
Wronko then filed an emergent application for bail, along with the appeal, and the Appellate Division granted the request.
Wilso, currently incarcerated at Southern State Correctional Facility in Cumberland County, N.J., was not able to be present for the bail hearing on such short notice.
Since Wilson’s arrest and trial, the New Jersey Legislature legalized the medical use of marijuana for multiple sclerosis and other serious diseases. Ironically, patients still aren’t allowed to grow their own cannabis, even under the new law.