Friday, August 21, 2009

The "whole truth"? Not for John Wilson.

Although it was extremely hot in front of the Somerset County Courthouse today, I was pleased to see well over a dozen people show up in support of MS patient, John Wilson. John was arrested for growing 17 marijuana plants. That's what the jury will hear. What they won't be hearing is that he uses marijuana medically to treat his symptons of multiple sclerosis, or even that he has multiple sclerosis. Although a scheduled hearing on his case was postponed, our group decided to brave the heat to show up and begin the task of educating the public about John's dilemna.

It is not in dispute that John was growing 17 marijuana plants and it was certainly no surprise when the Somseret County Prosecutor was able to successfully argue that John would not be allowed to tell the jury that he used marijuana medically. There is no legal medical marijuana defense for marijuana possesion/cultivation charges in New Jersey. What really pushes my button though is that John Wilson will not even be allowed to tell the jury that he has multiple sclerosis. He is NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO SAY THAT HE IS SICK (that's me shouting) at his trial or he will face contempt of court charges. The same Judge Reed who has ordered John to not tell the whole truth will soon be asking him in a court of law to raise his right hand and place his left hand on the bible. He will then ask him to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Two out of three anyone?

It's not just me. I've shopped this scenerio around and have found that there is genuine anger at the prospect of a jury being fooled into thinking that John Wilson is a healthyy man who grew so much marijuana that he had to be planning to profit from it. The prosecutor even made the following absurd comparison to Judge Reed when arguing why the jury should not be allowed to know that John has MS. He opined...if a man robbed a bank and had MS should that have any bearing on the case? No, it's not just me. This attitude towards someone with a life long incurable disease goes beyond disrespect and it deserves a response. Those sentiments seemed to be shared by the media outlets that were invited to attend, as evidenced by the fact that they attended.

We at the Coalition for Medical Marijuana NJ might not be able to help John in court. We may not be able to persuade our Attorney General to step in and decline to go forward with the case. But I can guarantee you one thing that we can and will do for him. We will see to it that this sanctioned obstruction of justice does not take place out of public view. We will shine a light on it in a way that has not before been seen in New Jersey. When the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office sees the media's portrayal of today's gathering they will know that they have seen the tip of the iceberg andI hope that they realize that it's not too late to change course. If not, they will be finding out what I have come to understand a little better today. Times have indeed changed and it's time that they started changing with them.

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