By Jay Lassiter, on January 26, 2012, cross posted on Blue Jersey
In August of 2008, Multiple Sclerosis patient John Ray Wilson of Franklin Township, NJ, was arrested for growing medical cannabis in his backyard. According to news reports, Mr. Wilson was:
“charged with ‘manufacturing’ 17 marijuana plants that he used to treat his Multiple Sclerosis. Wilson faced 20 years in state prison for this crime. At trial, Superior Court Judge Robert Reed would not let the jury hear the reason that Wilson grew the marijuana plants, essentially removing Wilson’s only defense.“
Four years after his arrest (and two years after NJ’s medical marijuana law was signed) John Ray Wilson — currently out on appeal — was ordered to return to prison TOMORROW to serve out his 5 year term.
Senator Raymond Lesniak, who was a chief proponent of New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, had this appeal to Gov. Chris Christie:
“I am disappointed by the recent decision of the Supreme Court to deny the appeal of John Ray Wilson. He was merely trying to alleviate the symptoms of a dreadfully painful and regressive disease. It is unconscionable that this Friday he will be behind bars. Three years ago, I called on Gov. Corzine to commute the sentence of Mr. Wilson. After inaction with the last governor, I was hopeful Gov. Christie would better understand the unfair reality of this situation. Unfortunately, Gov. Christie has been just like Corzine, refusing to use his and only his power to make things right when the true intentions of the law were misapplied. (Ironically) before John Ray Wilson completes his prison sentence, the State of NJ will have its medical marijuana program up and running, and Mr. Wilson may likely be using medical marijuana behind bars or the prescription pain killers he couldn’t afford, paid for by the state’s taxpayers. Governor Christie should commute his sentence immediately.”
Chris Goldstein from the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in NJ wonders,”how many more seriously ill residents are we going to send to prison? We call on Governor Chris Christie to demonstrate his compassion for qualifying medical marijuana patients and his commitment to a new stance on non-violent drug offenders by issuing a pardon for John Ray Wilson.”