September 20, 2014

NJ Gov Chris Christie Plays Medical Marijuana Doctor on Radio

3/1/2012 - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took calls and emails on NJ 101.5 last night. One of the emails asked if he would consider clemency for medical marijuana patient John Ray Wilson. In his answer Christie relied heavily on a report from his Counsel’s office.

Apparently, just one briefing from his in-house attorneys was enough to make Governor Christie an expert on the proper amounts of medical marijuana for patients and the complex disease of multiple sclerosis.

Here’s a transcript of the exchange:

NJ 101.5 - [John Ray Wilson]  was caught growing marijuana in Somerset county.  He suffers from MS …says he was growing for it for his own use for his symptoms. There was nothing really presented governor that would indicate that this guy was a drug dealer….he’s in jail for 5 years… do you disagree with that?

Christie –I do. And I’ve been briefed..

NJ 101.5 – You think John Ray Wilson was a drug dealer?

Christie –This is what I believe…I believe John Ray Wilson… that there are a lot of questions that have yet been answered about John Ray Wilson’s activity. The amount of pot that he was growing was well beyond the amount of pot you would need for medicinal use for yourself. Um yaaa know… His diagnosis um has been has brought into question…to whether he really does have MS or not. Umm I asked my counsel’s office which I said at one of my town hall meetings to review this umm and I’m not gonna talk about all the things that they raised with me. But I will tell you that based on the things that they raised with me and the report, the briefing that they gave me that I am not inclined to give any clemency to John Ray Wilson.

NJ 101.5 – So as far as you’re concerned that’s a dead issue?

Christie – I mean unless something new comes up I think he’s gotta go to jail – And stay there.

Full video from NJ101.5 here.

Prosecutors attempted to bring Wilson’s MS diagnosis into question during his trial but were unsuccessful. When he was jailed in 2010, before being released pending appeal, prison authorities set up medical treatments for Wilson’s MS symptoms.

John Wilson was prosecuted by the New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General. Usually such marijuana cultivation cases are prosecuted by the municipality.

Ken Wolski is a registered nurse an executive director of The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey. Wolski has been helping Wilson with his case since it began.

“On 1/26/12 I faxed to NJ Dept. of Corrections Commissioner Gary Lanigan a copy of Mr. Wilson’s most recent MRI,” Wolski said, “This MRI clearly documents the progressive nature of his MS lesions, and is entirely consistent with his clinical symptoms.”

John Ray Wilson’s family allowed Freedomisgreen.com to review his latest MRI report. Performed on 12/1/2011 it states the following:

“The lesions are considerably more extensive than that seen in 2002. Findings are consistent with demyelinating disease as can be found in patients with multiple sclerosis.”

Wolski also pointed out that there were experts willing to come forward in this case, “Dr. Denis Petro, a Board Certified Neurologist stands ready to testify to Wilson’s diagnosis and marijuana’s usefulness for it, but Dr. Petro’s testimony was not allowed by the trial judge.”

The amount of medical marijuana patients are allowed varies from state to state. At the time Wilson cultivated the seventeen plants there was no medical marijuana law in New Jersey. He grew the plants outdoors so there may have been some reasonable planning for the crop to last into the next year’s growing season.

Wolski had this to say about the not-so-transparent briefing from the Governor’s Counsel: “Gathering secret information on citizens is no way to make a decision about whether or not they received justice in a courtroom.”

On February 16, 2012 the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee passed a resolution urging Governor Christie to grant John Ray Wilson clemency. SCR89 could still go to the Senate floor for a vote in March.

 

CMMNJ – http://www.cmmnj.org

Support John Ray Wilson on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-John-Ray-Wilson-New-Jersey-MS-Patient/104540271138

CALL or TWEET to Governor Chris Christie 609-292-6000 or @GovChristie – ask him to “Pardon medical marijuana patient John Ray Wilson!”

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IMPORTANT - Full Text: Department of Justice Memo on Medical Marijuana

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Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions?  chris@freedomisgreen.com


 

 

 

New Jersey Patients Say Medical Marijuana Regulations Still Need Work

Sandy Fiaola, NJ multiple sclerosis patient

July, 20, 2011 press release from The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ) www.cmmnj.org

Gov. Christie Allows Medical Marijuana, Regulations Still Need Work

Trenton – NJ Governor Chris Christie held a press conference on July 19, 2011 to address the status of the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. He has decided to reverse his suspension of the program and allow six Alternative Treatment Centers to move ahead with their operations.

After discussing the various intersections or conflicts between state and federal laws Christie said, “I have instructed the Commissioner of Health to move forward as expeditiously as possible to implement the [program].”

VIDEO: http://www.livestream.com/governorchrischristie/video?clipId=pla_a1a6bf2e-1630-4282-bb87-f28f93e72f9a&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb

“We are happy that the governor is moving forward with the medicinal marijuana program,” said Ken Wolski, a registered nurse and executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ). “Patients have suffered too long waiting for this,” said Wolski, “In thousands of cases patients in NJ have already died without the improvement in quality of life and relief of suffering that marijuana can bring.”

CMMNJ remains focused on a final set of rules for the program that will be workable. “We still have a number of concerns about the regulations put out by the DHSS for this program,” Wolski said, “The physician registry is unnecessary and will disqualify numerous patients.  Plus the cap on THC level is arbitrary and home delivery is not being permitted. These are all roadblocks to patient access that we hope the Christie Administration will reconsider.”

Some of the ATCs have expressed the same concerns. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/03/07/nj-to-hold-hearing-on-medical-marijuana-rules/

Seriously ill New Jersey residents who would qualify under the law expressed surprise and measured hope at the governor’s change in rhetoric.

Jay Lassiter lives with HIV and has testified for better regulations in Trenton, “This is a small step in the right direction for New Jersey and I’m glad that Governor Christie has finally discovered a sense of urgency to help New Jersey residents with cancer and AIDS. I look forward to the day when I won’t be a criminal just for taking medical cannabis.”

Charles Kwiatkowski, a father of three, lives with multiple sclerosis and has been one of the most visible patient advocates in New Jersey. “It’s good and bad…all the restrictions,” Kwiatkowski said today. “But, I’ll believe it when I see it. So far it has been a really long, painful wait.”

[Editor's Note - Freedomisgreen posts submitted content to the site. If you are interested in sending press releases, text or photos please contact chris@freedomisgreen.com .]

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IMPORTANT - Full Text: Department of Justice Memo on Medical Marijuana

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Suspended Medical Marijuana Centers in NJ, RI Showcase New Role of Governors

State House in Trenton - photo by C. David Freitag

7/16/2011 - Governor Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island and Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey are maintaining their executive hold on opening approved medical marijuana facilities. This shines a spotlight on an important role emerging for Governors in regulating cannabis. Officials in both states told Freedomisgreen that they still have legal questions so the suspensions could remain indefinitely*.

Chafee and Christie say their primary concern is the notion that state employees could be at risk for federal prosecution. Of course, no such legal action that has been seen in America for over 100 years. A new memorandum from the US Department of Justice was issued about medical marijuana on June 30th but seems to have offered little direction. [Read more...]