|Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger
|John Ray Wilson was sentenced to five years in prison for growing marijuana to treat his multiple sclerosis. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday night said Wilson belongs in prison and even called his MS diagnosis — which is backed by medical records — into question
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey on Wednesday night showed where his heart really is. Christie said he will not grant clemency for John Ray Wilson, a Somerset County man serving a barbaric five-year prison sentence for growing marijuana in his back yard to treat his multiple sclerosis. The governor even went so far as to call Wilson’s MS diagnosis — backed up by medical records — into question.
The Republican governor was unmoved by the fact the Wilson suffers from multiple sclerosis and said he was growing the herb to control the debilitating symptoms of his disease, reports Susan K. Livio at NJ.com
. Ironically, since Wilson’s arrest, the New Jersey Legislature legalized medical marijuana in the Garden State with a law which was signed by Gov. Christie’s predecessor on his last day in office.
During the monthly call-in show, “Ask the Governor” on 101.5 FM on Wednesday night, Christie said he doesn’t believe Wilson grew the cannabis for medicinal reasons. The governor even went so far as to question the Franklin Township man’s MS diagnosis.
|N.J. Gov. Chris Christie: “Unless something new comes up, yeah, I think he has got to go to jail and stay there”
Just in case anybody wanted to extend the benefit of the doubt to the portly governor, he repeated his hateful sentiments at unrelated Trenton press conference Thursday morning.
“The amount he was growing was well beyond the amount of pot you would need for medical use for yourself,” Christie claimed during the radio show. “His diagnosis has been brought into question as to whether he really has MS or not.”
Chris Goldstein of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana – New Jersey responded to the governor’s heartless and ignorant comments by emailing portions of Wilson’s medical file to reporters, at the request of Wilson’s mother.
A copy of an MRI report from December 1, 2011, cites multiple sclerosis as the reason for the test, which was given at Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center in New Brunswick. “The lesions are considerably more than that seen in 2002,” according to the medical report. “Findings are consistent with demyelinating disease as c an be found in patients with multiple sclerosis.”
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that attacks “the myelin — the fatty sheath that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers in the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves,” according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“Mr. Christie’s comments on NJ 101.5 were callous and completely lacked compassion,” Goldstein said. “John could significantly deteriorate in prison while he serves his sentence. The Governor is certainly a legal expert and definitely a wannabe radio talk show host — but he is not a neurologist or a medical cannabis caregiver.”
“We hope Governor Christie will review the merits of John Ray Wilson’s clemency on his own rather than through a team of attorneys,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein also shared the MRI report with Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union), who sponsored a resolution urging Gov. Christie to grant Wilson clemency. The nonbonding resolution (SCR 89) passed a Senate Committee last month. It urges the governor to commute Wilson’s sentence, especially in light of New Jersey’s 2010 law allowing the manufacture and sale of medical marijuana.
So what led to the Governor of New Jersey openly lying — on the air, no less — about a multiple sclerosis patient’s condition, and approving of his five-year prison sentence for treating himself? (Just to give you an idea of the caliber of Presidential candidates on the GOP slate this year, Christie has been mentioned as a possibility to “improve the ticket.”)
Police found 17 marijuana plants growing behind Wilson’s home in 2008. He was barred from bringing up his MS diagnosis and he was convicted in 2009. An appeals court upheld Wilson’s conviction last year, and the New Jersey Supreme Court last month declined to hear the case.
Wilson began serving his five-year sentence in January.
Christie didn’t mention the clemency resolution from the state Senate during his comments. The governor said he considered the matter “a dead issue” based on what he was told by his legal staff who reviewed the case.
“Unless something new comes up, yeah, I think he has got to go to jail and stay there,” Christie said of the MS patient.