Drug Policy

N.J. Medical Marijuana Patient Acquitted of Most Serious Charge

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John Ray Wilson, the New Jersey man who was caught growing marijuana that he used to treat his multiple sclerosis, was convicted yesterday of cultivating cannabis and possessing psilocybin mushrooms but acquitted of the most serious charge against him: operating a marijuana production facility, an offense that is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Before the trial, the judge ruled that Wilson could not tell the jury why he was growing marijuana, since New Jersey does not permit medical use of the plant (although it is on the verge of enacting a law that would). But during the trial Wilson was allowed to mention, with no follow-up or elaboration, that he told the state police detectives who arrested him "I was not a drug dealer and I was using the marijuana for my M.S." The judge allowed the testimony to rebut the detectives' claim that they never asked Wilson why he was growing the 17 plants they found. A juror told The Star-Ledger that "Wilson's condition played no role in jury deliberations" but added that the dispute about what happened during the arrest hurt the detectives' credibility. Although a 20-year sentence is no longer possible, Wilson still could go to prison for five to 10 years. His lawyer plans to ask for probation when Wilson is sentenced on February 5. Gov. Jon Corzine, who has said he will sign New Jersey's pending medical marijuana law, indicated that he was waiting for the outcome of the trial before considering the case for clemency.

I noted Wilson's case last week.

[via the Drug War Chronicle]