New Jersey MS Patient Loses Appeal, Facing Five Years

New Jersey passed a medical marijuana law in January 2010 and, after delays, a series of alternative treatment centers (dispensaries) are set to open soon, but none of that has proven any help to multiple sclerosis sufferer and medical marijuana patient John Ray Wilson.

Wilson was convicted of growing 17 pot plants in 2009 after Superior Court Judge Robert Reed ruled that he could not mention his disease or that he used marijuana to control the symptoms of his disease in his defense. Left with no effective defense to offer, the unemployed, uninsured Wilson was convicted of the charge and sentenced to serve five years in state prison.

Wilson then appealed his sentence to the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division. Late last month, he was turned down, with the appeals court ruling that it would not allow a medical use exemption to the charge of manufacturing marijuana.

Now, Wilson could be jailed any day. A judge is considering his request for bail to be granted while he pursues a final appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Wilson supporters and advocates are furious with a legal system that is rigorous about the letter of the law but heedless of humanity or the spirit of the law. They are especially embittered because Wilson's original trial, where medical doctors were prepared to testify to the medical benefits of marijuana for MS sufferers, took place at the same time as the public and legislative debates over medical marijuana, yet he was not allowed to raise the issue in his defense.

"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."

– Read the Entire Article at Stop the Drug War.