Monday, January 23, 2012

NJ Supreme Court Agrees: MS Patient Must Spend 5 Years in State Prison

WHO: New Jersey Supreme Court
WHAT: Refused to hear the appeal of MS patient John Ray Wilson who was denied a medical defense for his use of marijuana
WHEN: January 20, 2012
WHERE: Trenton, NJ
WHY: The Supreme Court agrees there is no “personal use” exemption for the charge of "manufacturing" marijuana

New Jersey multiple sclerosis (MS) patient John Ray Wilson is preparing to resume his 5-year prison sentence after the state Supreme Court denied certification, refusing to hear his appeal, on January 20, 2012, according to his lawyer, William Buckman. Buckman called the Appellate Court decision that the Supreme Court let stand, “wrongheaded and a vicious travesty.”

Wilson was arrested on August 18, 2008 and was charged with “manufacturing” 17 marijuana plants that he used to treat his MS. 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. Many members of the community felt this was an injustice and protested outside the court house in Somerville. In December 2009 Wilson was acquitted of the most serious charge, but he was convicted of a second degree charge of manufacturing marijuana. He was sentenced to five years in prison on March 19, 2010.

On July 26, 2011, an Appellate Court affirmed the conviction and sentencing. The Appellate Court agreed with the trial judge that there was no “personal use” exemption to the charge of manufacturing over ten marijuana plants. It did not matter that Wilson was using the marijuana to treat his MS, the Appellate Court ruled. They agreed that five years in prison for this crime was an appropriate sentence.

Governor Chris Christie has so far ignored appeals from State Senators Scutari and Lesniak for a pardon for Wilson. Ken Wolski, RN, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey (CMMNJ) said, “This is further proof that there is no justice for medical marijuana patients in New Jersey.”

The National MS Society 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 and could limit disease progression. An estimated 15% of people with the disease use marijuana for symptom relief, according to the MS Society. MS is a qualifying condition for marijuana therapy in New Jersey according to the two-year-old Compassionate Use Act, but the state’s Medicinal Marijuana Program is not operational yet.

CMMNJ, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is a non-profit educational organization.

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA,
Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
219 Woodside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08618


  1. We should lock up the monsters that make up the supreme court.. It's embarrassing to me that we have become so pathetic as a society/Country that we would allow this to happen

  2. For some reason my first comment didn't show but here it goes again.

    I agree with the above poster. That is insane we allow this to go on. We the people should stop this. Putting someone in prison for seeking medication. Isn't there something in our constitution that says we have the right to healthcare. If medical marijuana is what helps his condition shouldn't he have the right to it? And if its not provided for him, shouldn't the patient have the right to produce his own medicine if capable?

  3. It took me a couple of hours before I came across your site.Well, this post would be of great help to anyone who would come to read this one. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. herbal incense