Topic: Franklin man faces prison term for growing pot to blunt pain from MS
John Ray Wilson, a multiple sclerosis patient is handcuffed by Sheriffs Officers of Superior Court in Somerville after Wilson was sentenced to 5 years in state prison for manufacturing and drug possession.
You have to wonder: Are the authorities and courts high? John Ray Wilson, it appears, is going to prison for growing 17 marijuana plants behind his home in Franklin Township. An appeals court last week tossed out a last-ditch attempt at overturning his conviction.
Now, 17 plants — some as tall as an NBA player — are a lot of pot, but Wilson suffers from multiple sclerosis, had no health insurance, his lawyer says, and grew the weed to help him alleviate the symptoms of his illness. Okay, so maybe he overplanted.
We know what you’re going to say: No one person could possibly smoke that much pot.
Heck, Wilson could have thrown a party, invited Cheech and Chong, Spicoli, Bill Maher and all of San Francisco — and still would have had a few doobies left over. So, Wilson must’ve been dealing.
But there’s no evidence of that.
Wilson was acquitted of maintaining or operating a drug-production facility (a possible 20-year offense), but found guilty of manufacturing and possessing the drug.
At his trial, Wilson was not allowed to tell the jury that he grew the pot to relieve his symptoms, nor was he permitted to present an expert witness on the benefits of marijuana.
He appealed those points, but lost.
Of course, had New Jersey passed a medical marijuana law sooner, Wilson wouldn’t have had to resort to backyard farming in 2009.
The court followed the law to the letter, but at some point, someone must step in and stop the craziness of this case. Because it’s totally bogus, dude.
This case has been overkill from the start: After agents in a helicopter spotted the plants, cops swarmed the neighborhood.
Wilson is not another drug dealer we need swept off the streets. He’s a nine-year MS sufferer who couldn’t wait for the state to stop dragging its feet and now faces several months in jail.
One more thing: When Wilson is incarcerated, the state (meaning taxpayers) must pay for his expensive MS treatment.
There are remedies, of course. The governor could issue a pardon. The attorney general’s office could reassess its position on jail for Wilson. Either one would make us feel a lot more mellow.
Related Editorial: Marijuana mercy: Pardon John Ray Wilson
The state Attorney General’s Office believes we have to get John Ray Wilson off the streets. He was caught growing marijuana behind his Franklin Township home — enough to make him, in the eyes of the law, a pot producer, a drug distributor. Heck, some of the plants were taller than an NBA point guard, cops say.
After a helicopter spotted the weed, police swarmed Wilson’s neighborhood and arrested him. He was charged with maintaining or operating a drug-production facility, a first-degree crime, along with other offenses, and could face up to 20 years in prison.
Whew! Another hard-core drug offender swept from New Jersey’s streets with help from the National Guard. We can all sleep soundly tonight.
Except that Wilson has multiple sclerosis and was growing the marijuana, he says, to treat his condition. He’s hardly the Gotti of Ganja, the Dillinger of Dope, the Cannabis Kid.
Wilson was caught growing 17 plants. That makes him subject to prosecution as if he were dealing, but attorney James Wronko insists "there’s no evidence of that whatsoever." Wilson, he says, is a novice and "had no idea" how many plants he needed to make enough pot for personal use.
Sens. Nicholas Scutari and Raymond Lesniak (both D-Union) have asked Gov. Jon Corzine to pardon Wilson, who declined an offer to plead guilty in return for a three- to nine-year sentence and is scheduled to go on trial Dec. 14. The senators want Corzine to throw out the first-degree charge, so Wilson can enter pretrial intervention on the lesser offenses. They have called the charges "inappropriate" and an "inhumane application" of the law.
Dude, they’re right, this is totally bogus.
With the Legislature probably close to passing a bill that permits medical marijuana use, pardoning Wilson from the serious charge makes sense. Otherwise, the state could spend tens of thousands of dollars to try this case and possibly throw this guy in prison, where it will cost us even more money.
What are we, high?
These folks need voting out of office !!
These folks need to be charged with criminal act's of assault and battery !!
They need to be hauled into court for practicing medicine w/o a lic.
any more charges ?