Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Judge Reed, be lenient with John Wilson--a medical marijuana patient, not a criminal

In addition to sending letters like the one I sent to Judge Reed (below) asking for leniency for John Wilson, please send e-mails to Governor Jon Corzine asking him for an outright pardon for Wilson. It's easy. Just go to: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=14300601

December 28, 2009

Hon. Robert B. Reed, J.S.C.
P.O. Box 3000
Somerville NJ 08876

Dear Judge Reed:

I am writing to ask you for leniency when you sentence John Ray Wilson on February 5, 2010.

John Wilson is a multiple sclerosis (MS) patient who was using marijuana to ease the symptoms of his disease. Now he faces many years in a New Jersey state prison for doing so. I believe it is a travesty of justice to imprison any seriously ill patient for using marijuana to relieve suffering. It is especially disturbing when the patient has MS. I don’t know if you ever saw a patient suffer and die from MS, but I certainly have in my 33 years as a registered nurse (RN). It’s not a pretty sight. MS is a terrible disease that strikes otherwise healthy young adults in their 20’s and 30’s. It is chronic (meaning it lasts a lifetime) and progressive (meaning it only gets worse). There is no cure. The progressive course of this disease leads patients first to a wheelchair, and then to a bed where they often choke to death on their own secretions or die of pneumonia. Along the way they are racked with dreadful pain and spasms that traditional medications cannot relieve.

The National MS Society recently confirmed in an Expert Opinion Paper that standard therapies often provide inadequate relief for the symptoms of MS and that marijuana helps with MS symptoms such as pain and spasticity. Moreover, these experts suggested that the neuroprotective effects of marijuana could halt the progression of this disease—stop it from getting worse.* These are compelling reasons for MS sufferers to use marijuana therapeutically.

Marijuana shows such promise as an adjunct in the management of MS, as well as other neurological diseases, that there should be numerous medical studies conducted to aggressively determine the limits of marijuana’s therapeutic potential. Instead, not a single clinical study of marijuana is being done in New Jersey, nor has there ever been such a study in this state. A patient in New Jersey, who is faced with the grim prognosis of MS and the hope that marijuana offers, currently has no choice but to break the law.

The New Jersey legislature stands on the brink of legalizing marijuana for MS patients like John Wilson. Hopefully, the “NJ Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act” (S-119 & A-804), will pass into law even before you sentence Mr. Wilson. But if the lawmakers delay, it is inevitable that medical marijuana will eventually be legalized in New Jersey. The science supporting medical marijuana is too compelling to deny, as I’m sure you will agree when you review the references I have provided, below.

Justice, compassion, and even fiscal common sense all support a most lenient sentence for John Wilson. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Sincerely yours,

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, Inc. www.cmmnj.org

The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ) is an all-volunteer, 501 (c)(3) public charity whose mission is to educate the public about the benefits of medical marijuana (cannabinoids). For more information, visit our website at: www.cmmnj.org

* “Recommendations Regarding the Use of Cannabis in Multiple Sclerosis,” Expert Opinion Paper, National Clinical Advisory Board of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2008.

See also: “Multiple Sclerosis and Medical Cannabis,” Americans for Safe Access, 2008. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4558

See also: “Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis & Cannabinoids, A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature, 2000 — 2008,” National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 2008. http://www.norml.org//index.cfm?Group_ID=7121

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