New Jersey MS Patient Sent to Prison over Medical Marijuana

John Ray Wilson in 2010

8/24/2011 – John Ray Wilson was taken into custody today at the Somerset County Courthouse. He will begin serving a 5-year prison sentence. The 38-year-old MS patient was found with seventeen cannabis plants in 2008.  After serving five weeks in prison in 2010, Wilson was allowed to remain with his family pending an appeal. The NJ Appellate Division upheld his conviction and sentence in late July. Wilson appeared before Superior Court Judge Angela Borkowski in a hearing today to consider a continuation of his bail.

Judge Borkowski ruled that her court was not an appropriate jurisdiction to deviate from the trial decision and appellate court affirmation. Any bail appeal should be made to the Appellate Division. Wilson’s attorney, William Buckman of Moorestown, said that he will file for bail immediately.

During the brief hearing the prosecutor, Deputy Attorney General Russell Curley, argued that Wilson should begin serving his sentence today. The judge agreed. John was taken into custody in the courtroom and is currently being held at the Somerset County jail.

“We think that the appellate decision is misguided,” said Wilson’s attorney William Buckman, “we are hoping that the Supreme Court will set the record straight that New Jersey doesn’t want to put sick people or simple individual marijuana users into prison at the cost of $35,000 a year.”

Buckman has filed a notice of petition to the Supreme Court to appeal the “manufacturing” conviction. The Appellate Division ruled that there was no consideration that the cannabis plants were only for Wilson’s “personal” use.

Ken Wolski, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey (CMMNJ) was in the courtroom today.

“CMMNJ is still hopeful there is a chance for justice in the state Supreme Court. But we are very disappointed that John is back in jail.”

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?  [email protected]

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