MS Patient Gets 5 Years for Growing Medical Marijuana

A Franklin man with multiple sclerosis was sentenced today to five years in prison for growing marijuana that he has said was used for medicinal purposes.

The sentence handed down to John Wilson is the minimum prison term that he could have received.

Wilson’s attorney, James Wronko, said he will file a motion to stay the sentence pending an appeal.

Superior Court Judge Robert Reed, who handed down the sentence, said that Wilson in six months could be eligible for the the New Jersey Intensive Supervision Program in which certain offenders, sentenced to state prisob, are given an opportunity to work their way back into the community under intensive supervision.

Reed also did not sentence Wilson to a period of partole ineligibility. Because this is his first conviction on an indictable offense, Wilson could be eligible for a parole in little over a year.

“It’s the least period of imprisonment I could impose,” said Reed.

The state attorney general’s office, which prosecuted the case, was asking Reed to impose a seven-year sentence.

Reed said that a pre-sentencing report said that Wilson was diagnosed with MS when he was 30 in 2002, but that he had been smoking marijuana on a daily basis since he was 15.

Wronko said Wilson began using marijuana to treat the symptoms of MS because he did not have insurance and could not afford prescriptions.

Before Reed delivered the sentence, Wilson admitted he had broken the law.

“I am not a bad person,” Wilson told the judge. “I just made a horrible mistake.”

“I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done,” Wilson said.

Because he couldn’t afford insurance, Wilson said he has used alternative treatments, including vitamins and bee venom.

Wilson said he recently had three “flare-ups” of MS and has ended up in the hospital twice.

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