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NJ: Man with MS files medical marijuana appeal

August 9, 2010

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August 9, 2:00 PMPhiladelphia NORML ExaminerChris Goldstein

Defense attorneys James Wronko and Gilbert Miller have filed the appellate brief in the case of John Ray Wilson.

Ken Wolski, a registered nurse and Executive Director of The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey said, “This is an excellent appeal that has every chance for success.  The outcome could affect all future medical marijuana trials in New Jersey.”  

CMMNJ posted the full appeal document. (Read it here)

Living without healthcare and with Multiple Sclerosis, Wilson was convicted of second and third degree felonies after being caught with 17 marijuana plants. Wilson always maintained that the plants were for personal, medical use.

Wilson’s trial in 2009 spurred demonstrations at the Somerset County Courthouse from medical marijuana supporters. There was also significant media attention on the case.

The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act of New Jersey then passed in January 2010.

Shortly after the law was passed John Wilson was sentenced. Superior Court Judge Robert Reed acknowledged that Wilson was different than other offenders, possibly alluding to his medical use of cannabis. Still, John Wilson was taken into custody and remained in the local county jail for a month.

However, one week after being transferred to a state prison he was released.  After posting a $15,000 bail, Wilson is now living with his family in southern New Jersey although he lost his drivers license because of his conviction.

Eventually state senators Nicholas Scutari and Raymond Lesniak asked for the Governor to pardon Wilson.

Officials at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services are working on implementing the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act by January 2011.

Multiple Sclerosis is one of the medical conditions specifically outlined in the law.

Even with the protections of the law in other states, individual medical marijuana patients have faced some continued legal battles.

The Philadelphia NORML Examiner has covered John Wilson’s case and trial in-depth:

Breaking: Wilson released, NJ Senators call for medical marijuana clemency

MS patient: Not guilty on most serious marijuana charge

NJ: Judge allows John Wilson to mention MS at marijuana trial

Rally photos: MS patient John Wilson facing 15 years for 17 plants

NJ: Politicians speak out for medical marijuana

More about medical marijuana in New Jersey at

Read the full text of NJ’s medical marijuana law

 by Chris Goldstein, the Philadephia NORML Examiner. Chris is on the Board of Directors at CMMNJ. He may be contacted through
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