N.J. MS Patient Loses Appeal; Prison For Medical Marijuana

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Photo: Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger
Multiple sclerosis patient John Ray Wilson is handcuffed after being sentenced to five years in prison for “manufacturing and drug possession”

‚ÄčA New Jersey multiple sclerosis patient appears to be headed to prison for growing 17 marijuana plants behind his home.

John Ray Wilson said the plants were for medicinal use, and New Jersey — since Wilson’s arrest — has legalized medical marijuana. But patients in the Garden State still aren’t allowed to grow their own medicine.
Wilson was acquitted of maintaining or operating a “drug-production facility,” which could have gotten him 20 years behind bars, but was found guilty of manufacturing and possessing marijuana and sentenced to five years in prison.

At his trial, Wilson was not even allowed to tell the jury that he grew pot to relieve the symptoms of MS, nor was he permitted to present an expert witness on the benefits of marijuana. He appealed both those points, but lost.
Of course, if New Jersey’s medical marijuana law had existed at the time of his arrest, Wilson might not have had to resort to illicit backyard farming in 2009.
“The court followed the law to the letter, but at some point, someone must step in and stop the craziness of this case,” wrote the Star-Ledger in an editorial. “Because it’s totally bogus, dude.”
“The case has been overkill from the start,” the paper opined. “After agents in a helicopter spotted the plants, cops swarmed the neighborhood.
“Wilson is not another drug dealer we need swept off the streets,” the editorial reads. “He’s a nine-year MS sufferer who couldn’t wait for the state to stop dragging its feet and now faces several months in jail.
“One more thing,” the paper pointed out. “When Wilson is incarcerated, the state (meaning taxpayers) must pay for this expensive MS treatment.”
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