MS Patient in N.J. Gets 5 Years in Prison for Growing Marijuana
A New Jersey man who said he was growing marijuana in his home to treat his multiple-sclerosis symptoms has been sentenced to five years in prison on drug charges, the Newark Star-Ledger reported March 20.
John Ray Wilson, 37, was convicted of second-degree drug manufacturing for growing 17 marijuana plants and third-degree possession of hallucinogenic psilocybin mushrooms. He was acquitted of first-degree operation of a drug-manufacturing facility.
“Many people who suffer from MS and other chronic diseases do not use it as justification to break the law,” said Superior Court Judge Robert Reed, presiding in the case. The sentence was the lowest possible for the charges faced by Wilson.
Wilson has become a cause celebre for medical-marijuana activists in New Jersey and beyond. “I had no malicious intents to start a drug distribution facility,” said Wilson during the trial. “Honestly, it was trying to treat my MS.” The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, recently signed into law and going into effect in July, will allow qualified medical users to access marijuana.
Wilson was prohibited from using his illness as a defense during his trial, since at the time there were no exemptions for medical use in the state’s drug laws.