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Nj Ms Patient’S Appeal Denied; Faces Five Years In Prison


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WHO: New Jersey MS patient and medical marijuana user John Wilson

WHAT: Was denied his appeal of a five year prison sentence for medical marijuana use

WHEN: July 26, 2011

WHERE: Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division

WHY: Medical/personal use exemption not allowed

The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division denied the appeal of a five-year prison sentence for medical marijuana user and multiple sclerosis (MS) patient John Ray Wilson today, July 26, 2011. The court ruled that a medical/personal use exemption to the charge of “manufacturing” marijuana was not allowed.


Wilson originally faced 20 years in prison for growing 17 marijuana plants that he used to treat his MS. Superior Court Judge Robert Reed ruled during a pre-trial hearing in July 2009 that Wilson could not let the jury know that he has MS, or that his use of marijuana was an attempt to treat his disease.


This ruling effectively removed Wilson’s only defense for his actions. Wilson was self-employed and had no health insurance. Wilson was convicted by a jury of a second degree charge and was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Reed.


Dr. Denis Petro, a neurologist and expert witness for the defense, would have testified as to the medical benefits of marijuana for those afflicted with multiple sclerosis, but his testimony was barred by Judge Reed.


The National MS Society confirmed in an Expert Opinion Paper in 2008 that standard therapies often provide inadequate relief for the symptoms of MS such as pain and spasticity, and that marijuana helps with these symptoms and could limit disease progression.


“To know that a safe and inexpensive herb like marijuana is able to relieve the pain and spasticity of MS and to actually arrest the progression of this incurable disease is a compelling reason to use it therapeutically,” said Ken Wolski, RN, of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey (CMMNJ). “It is an outrage that Wilson will spend many years in the prison system for this, especially since the law in New Jersey now specifically protects MS patients who use medical marijuana.”


The "New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act,” was signed into law in January, 2010 and went into effect in October 2010. The Medicinal Marijuana Program is not yet up and running in the state, though, due to a series of delays. The law will allow patients with an ID card issued by the Health Department to use marijuana when a licensed physician recommends it for a number of medical conditions including multiple sclerosis.


John Wilson’s father, Ray, said, “They want to put a sick person away. It’s not fair. It’s sad.” CMMNJ Board Member Ed Hannaman, Esq. said, “Our system diligently and punctiliously adheres to the fine points of the law while rejecting any sense of compassion, no less actual justice."


CMMNJ, a 501©(3) public charity, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about the benefits of safe and legal access to medical marijuana. For more info, contact:


Ken Wolski, RN, MPA

Executive Director, Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. www.cmmnj.org

219 Woodside Ave.

Trenton, NJ 08618

609) 394-2137


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