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Medical Marijuana: New Jersey Patient Acquitted of Most Serious Charge, Convicted of Others

New Jersey Multiple Sclerosis patient John Ray Wilson, whose case the Chronicle profiled last week, was found guilty Thursday of manufacturing marijuana and a separate charge of possession of psychedelic mushrooms. But the jury found him not guilty of the most serious charge against him -- maintaining a facility to manufacture marijuana -- which could have seen him sent to prison for 20 years.
Wilson's case had gotten widespread attention, both because a bill that would have legalized his actions as a medical marijuana patient is nearing passage in the New Jersey Assembly and because the trial judge had earlier ruled that he could not mention medical marijuana or his disease in his defense. In a surprise move yesterday, the judge allowed Wilson to mention that he used marijuana because he suffers from MS, but that brief testimony did not sway the jury.

"I told them (the arresting officers) I was not a drug dealer and I was using the marijuana for my MS(Multiple Sclerosis)," Wilson testified yesterday after multiple sidebar conferences between Judge Robert Reed, prosecutors, and defense attorneys.

But no follow-up was allowed, and the defense was given no chance to expand on Wilson's single-sentence statement.

Wilson was arrested last year after a National Guard helicopter on a training flight spotted plants growing in the back yard of his Franklin Township home. Summoned by the pilot, police arrived at the unemployed 36-year-old's home and arrested him.

Two state senators, Nicholas Scutari, sponsor of the medical marijuana bill, and Ray Lesniak, two months ago called on Gov. Jon Corzine to pardon Wilson. But Corzine punted, saying he preferred to wait until after Wilson's trial had finished. Well, now it's done... and?

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Jean Boyd's picture

Blind Justice

The very core of the case is being dismissed as irrelevant. How can a situation be judged (as is the very reason for court) without knowing all the facts? Sounds like mis-justice. I guess they had to throw out the 20 year penalty because they know we are all watching and they don't want to do a BAD thing before our very eyes. I guess we need to babysit every court proceeding.

Marijuana and MS

Dr. Paolo Zamboni appears to have found a cure for MS.

Posse Comitatus Act violation?

Isn't it a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act for the National Guard to become involved in busting marijuana growers, the way they did in the Wilson case? The statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the National Guard from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States. There are very good reasons for this law and violations of it should be taken seriously.

Also, were the Guard troops armed? That would be pretty chilling to find Armed Nat. Guard troops fighting the War on Drugs against American citizens on American soil.

Everything about this case stinks.

Wilson's lawyer is encouraging letters of support be written to the judge, along with e-requests for pardon to the Governor, available at:

we need to watchdog every case for sure..

October 2007 I was arrested for my Prescribed Medication, (I had a garden in NJ), I had been treating at the Philly Vet Hospital. My MJ Prescription was for chronic pain associated with "Adenomyosis", a strictly female condition.. For at least a decade, UNDIAGNOSED via the Veterans hospital. On discovery a years supply of Oxycodone was prescribed. I had to seek a PRIVATE doctor for a correct pre surgery treatment. The Oxys The Va wanted me to ingest would have destroyed my liver & addicted me. I didn't just plant a garden, I had joined the First Federal Hemp bank of Oakland California, who's founders are STILL battling Judicial misconduct and worse.{see Federal Hemp case #488924 A &B}.. We paid FEDERAL taxes on the Hemp plants. I also acquired certification as a perma culture ist. This rather expensive course instructed us in Post peak oil, "how are we going to survive"? Hemp was 30 % of the answer. So it was I was certain my Garden was LEGAL. I had the document attesting to the Purity/inteded use of the plants POSTED.. NO warrent was involved, Fed State and local showed up, ripped up the garden, gained access to our home, via an electrician scared out of his wits and in NO way sanctioned to have granted access to the home.. I was 8 months in county, my attorney did NOT ensure I recieved any sort of "Justice".. nor was I able to communicate with him post my release July 2008. I was to serve 2 yrs probation. I became HOMELESS in NOVEMBER 2008. With No alternatives Headed back to California where friends have allowed Couch space. I have been Fighting for my Veterans benefits for years, KNOW the PTSD is only and best treated via Marijuana though NO veteran facilitees prescribe it.. Rather we are doled out Seroquil/Haldol/etc, whatever George W. Bush's family holds Stock in, Medications I have found to do little more than Create a zombie state accompanied with Drooling. NOT helpful.. I had informed my PO of my homelessness/need to vacate NJ and Relocation, I had only and email address to give her. Instead of communication, I am NOW informed the Law/judical/punitive departments are Forbidden email communication?!! My PO violated my probation in FEB. 09 which STOPPED my SSDI benefits JULY 09. I have had zero income since July, NO veterans benefits STILL for YEARS of file and wait.. Have over a year of file and wait attained HOUSING through the Veterans department here in Oakland California, that is MOOT point without the SSDI that is Stopped.. I put in for a pardon Via GOV Corzine in JUNE that is STILL in Stall mode, but find it worse than insane the entire criminalization and penalizing of me, a vet who ONLY sought to raise a family, work, and contribute to society.. I had been a Boyscout leader, fire fighter/ owner of a therapy dog that visited the Burlington Masonic home Every thursday for 3 yrs.. stood as Bell ringer for the Salvation army the Years I had no Money to contribute, Saved three lives over 15 yrs served as a lifeguard at variouse community pools. I will be 50 years old Feb. 16.. Having worked my entire life changing carreers repeatedly in order to hang in economically, I am now, a disenfranchised veteran with a fugitive felon status.. this my punishment for being a female? HOW this was NOT gender discrimination I would Love to know.. Thanks for careing enough to post and read. We ALL need this fixed and FAST.. IF this world is to be saved, It appears ONLY the Hemp/Cannibis cultivation can do it.. Petroleum&Coal are NOT renewable..

Blind Justice

This reminds me of the Tommy Chong case. Despite us having the First Amendment right of freedom of speech, the prosecutor in the Chong case was allowed to make a statement to the effect that Tommy was now going to have to pay for making a living doing comedy that involved marijuana. How was that fair or legal? I was surprised that his attourney did not object to that statement, although I do not have all the background and it is possible that he did and was shut down by the judge. Anyway, once again someone is convicted of something that should not be illegal and gets to have a criiminal record just for trying to ease their pain.

RyanFatz's picture

Even accused murderers are allowed to say

I don't understand this at all, and it seems to come up in these kinds of cases all the time. Murder is obviously illegal, but even accused murderers are allowed to say why they killed someone (aren't they?). I don't see why it should matter whether or not the plant is illegal when determining what the defendant is allowed to say on the stand.

borden's picture

good argument

Good argument. I will definitely keep it in mind.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

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