CMMNJ is pleased to learn that multiple sclerosis patient John Ray Wilson is appealing his marijuana conviction to the New Jersey Supreme Court. He was sentenced to five years in prison for growing seventeen cannabis plants. During his trial, Wilson was not allowed to present his medical condition to the jury. An appellate court ruled in July that “manufacturing” marijuana, a second degree felony, could not be considered “personal” use.
Criminal defense attorney William Buckman of Moorestown, NJ is representing Wilson in the appeal. Buckman has a distinguished career challenging marijuana laws and racial disparities.
“New Jersey already has some of the most draconian laws in the nation with respect to marijuana, costing taxpayers outrageous sums to incarcerate nonviolent, otherwise responsible individuals– as well as in this case — the sick and infirm,” said Buckman. “As it stands, the case now allows a person who grows marijuana to be exposed to up to 20 years in jail, even if that marijuana is strictly for his or her own medical use. No fair reading of the law would ever sanction this result.”
Wilson’s conviction in January 2010 came just as New Jersey’s compassionate use law was passed. The state now recognizes MS as a qualifying condition for marijuana therapy.
Ken Wolski, a registered nurse and Executive Director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ) said, “This case has shocked the conscience of the community. Wilson was unable to present his only defense to the jury–that he used cannabis to treat his multiple sclerosis (MS).”
“The state is allowing six Alternative Treatment Centers to grow thousands of plants and sell the cannabis to registered patients,” Wolski pointed out, “These ATCs were not available to John in 2008. Cultivation was the only way that he could afford to gain access. We hope that the Supreme Court will provide justice in this case.”
The concept that an individual would grow cannabis plants for “personal” use is an important point of law. The implication is that anyone caught with more than 10 plants is intending to distribute the marijuana.
During his trial, Wilson testified that he told the NJ State Police that he was going to keep all of the marijuana. Wilson also described his medical condition to officers as they searched his home.
Attorney William Buckman said, “The misguided appellate division opinion on Mr. Wilson’s case exponentially worsens the harm of N.J.’s marijuana laws in ways that could not have been imagined in common sense and reason.”
CMMNJ – http://www.cmmnj.org
William Buckman – http://www.whbuckman.com/
Support John Ray Wilson on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-John-Ray-Wilson-New-Jersey-MS-Patient/104540271138