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.
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
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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? firstname.lastname@example.org