Drug Policy

M.S. Patient Gets Five Years for Medicinal Marijuana

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John Ray Wilson, the New Jersey man who was convicted in December of growing marijuana that he used to treat his mutiple sclerosis, was sentenced on March 19 to five years in state prison. Wilson was not permitted to present a medical defense, because at the time of his trial New Jersey did not permit marijuana use for any reason. After he was convicted, New Jersey became the 14th state to allow the medical use of marijuana, although the new law does not allow patients to grow their own cannabis, instead requiring them to obtain it from state-licensed dispensaries. Gov. Jon Corzine, who signed the medical marijuana law, said he could not consider clemency for Wilson until after the trial. He has since been succeeded by Republican Chris Christie.

[via the Drug War Chronicle]

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  1. Corzine dodged another tough* decision.

    Christie’s taking heat for being a heartless budget-balancer. Maybe a little benevolence is not out of the question.

    *not really

    1. Gov. Jon Corzine, who signed the medical marijuana law, said he could not consider clemency for Wilson until after the trial.

      I don’t know if the word “dodged” applies here. Technically, unless convicted, you are presumed innocent, so how could the governor pardon a person presumed to be innocent?

      Now, perhaps the governor could have a little chat with the prosecutor and tell them to drop the case, but even there, there might be jurisdictional issues preventing that.

      1. Corzine was waiting for the sentencing phase.


      2. I don’t know if the word “dodged” applies here. Technically, unless convicted, you are presumed innocent, so how could the governor pardon a person presumed to be innocent?

        The SAME WAY Gerald Ford PARDON’s Richard Nixxon before conviction and impeachment.

  2. I wouldn’t pin much hope of a former U.S. attorney pardoning him.

  3. So a guy breaks the law and goes to prison? That’s the story?

    1. YOU SUCK. TROLL BETTER OR FUCK OFF.

    2. No, a guy fucks you in the mouth and comes on your tits.

      I knew you’d like that one.

      1. No doubt he’d love that:

        http://www.blogger.com/navbar……8118156803

    3. It would be more entertaining if your trolling wasn’t limited to such rote contrarianism. Just a thought there.

    4. *Ralph*

  4. I understand that nobody here likes marijuana prohibition, including yours truly…but including this non-story indicates that Sullum is stretching to find his daily dose of outrage.

    1. You remind me of a yeast infection.

    2. You make whoever is behind Tony and Chad look like a fucking genius.

        1. If I recall, Dan was better than this. Or have my trolling standards just gone up after Neil?

    3. You see, Scotch, when this guy was arrested, the story was posted here, and Reason will usually give a short update to keep readers abreast of new developments.

    4. I think you’re right on Scotch. The rule of law should be followed to the letter. The law is the law and when he chose to break it, he should get what’s coming to him. Freedom requires accountability and this criminal should be held accountable since he committed a crime. If he was a rapist and raped someone and was found guilty, and then a week later rape was legal, should he be eligible for clemency? After all, at the time he raped someone, it was illegal.

      1. “””The rule of law should be followed to the letter. The law is the law and when he chose to break it, he should get what’s coming to him. Freedom requires accountability and this criminal should be held accountable since he committed a crime. “”

        Isn’t that a republican and/or conservative approach to law enforcement?

  5. Just because this man is sick is no reason to let him scoff at the law.

    It’s important that we send a message to the children about the dangers of drugs.

    I just wanted to see if those statements looked as silly in print as they sounded in my head.

    They do. And yet they pass for public policy at this time.

    1. Isaac, you had me fooled for a minute, there. Yikes!

  6. Five years for growing a damn plant. And Corzine wouldn’t pardon the poor bastard for fear of offending the all-powerful MS patients haven’t suffered enough lobby.

    1. We need to have a talk mister!

      1. I’m sure the guy will be pardoned by the new Republican governor, since the GOP is all about small government and personal liberty.

        1. See, that was slightly better trolling. But you just said what we were all thinking, and no more sardonically than most of us would have.

          1. Which part was trolling? The republican pardon thing, or the GOP all about small government and personal liberty thing?

        2. No Scotch, he shouldn’t be pardoned. He broke the law and should be punished. It’s his own fault he didn’t have the resources to receive legal documented treatment for his condition. What if his condition was starvation and he stole from someone else to buy food, someone who has more than him? Theft is against the law and should be punished. We cannot make excuses and reward thumbing the law.

          1. Law and Order – what’s your profession? I ask because someone who is involved in law and order, as I am, would understand that while people who steal to feed their families often are convicted, their sentences are also often reduced or commuted in order to balance law and justice. A FIVE YEAR sentence for a crime committed in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms of an excruciating disease is not balancing law and justice.

  7. This is one of those times that libertarians forget that one of the main reasons MJ is still illegal is pressure from the pharm corporations that libertarians love so much…but hey, there is no danger in allowing the top 5% to accumulate most of the wealth!

    1. OK, NutraSweet, fess up…this is just you trying to torture me, right?

      1. Seriously not me, dude. I couldn’t be that unfunny and uninteresting if I tried. I just plain don’t have that level of insipid in me.

        1. Don’t sell yourself short, man. There’s plenty of insipid in you; just look at what you do for a living.

          1. What’s so special about your job? You make Pedobear birthday cakes at a run-down grocery story.

            1. What’s wrong with my cakes?

            2. Somebody’s been hanging out on reddit.

    2. Libertarians? WTF! I came here to meet Librarians. No wonder Reason never has posts about the Dewey Decimal System.

    3. Strawman spotted! I don’t love any corporation; I just respect their property rights. Pharmaceutical corporations can’t pass laws either, so you might want to re-evaluate who the real culprit is here.

      but hey, there is no danger in allowing the top 5% to accumulate most of the wealth!

      Absolutely correct.

      1. Jordan: Pharm companies can’t pass laws, but they can use their wealth and power to influence those who can.

        This is an example the Libertarian Catch-22.

        1. This is an example the Libertarian Catch-22.

          No, actually it’s not. We’re not the ones who advocate giving the government the power to pass such laws; you are. Don’t get pissy when people you disagree with take advantage of your activist government.

          1. “”We’re not the ones who advocate giving the government the power to pass such laws; you are””

            Doesn’t really matter who advocates. Constitutions give governments the power to pass such laws.

        2. You used Catch-22 incorrectly yesterdat too. Don’t you ever learn or evolve.

        3. Scotch, I really wish that you would do some preparatory reading before you post.

          If the government’s power is limited then the influence of large corporations is weakened. The more the scope of government power in our everyday lives the more favorable the legislation that is written for influence peddlers and rent seekers. This is known as crony capitalism, and if you spent some time here reading up you might find that most of the H&R commenters are decidedly against this behavior.

          1. If the government’s power is limited then the influence of large corporations is weakened.

            No, because it is the government’s job to regulate corporations. That’s like saying that the mob would have less influence if we got rid of the police.

            1. Very inapt comparison, Scotch. Capitol l is referring to symbiosis between corporate and state power. Your analogy does not acknowledge the “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” problem. The reason we have checks and balances is for this reason.
              Corporate crime can be punished much like any other crime.

              1. Look at it this way: whichever entity has the most power is the “government” for all intents and purposes, so who would you rather it be: the Republic, where at least you have an equal vote, or the Corporations, where power is designated to the few?

                1. It doesn’t really sound like you disagree that corporate power is derived from the interplay between regulation and influence, just who wields that power. The question is though; what powers would corporations have with a reduced central government? Also, how would they exercise these powers without tacit, or explicit, government approval? I sincerely doubt that without the serious government/corporate alliance that is now in effect businesses would have a lot less say in matters of drug prohibition which was the basis of your original comment.

                  1. Just re-read this, and the last sentence is opposite of the position I intended to take. Strike ‘a lot less’, add ‘as much’.

                2. The idea is that if government is not that powerful, Corporations have little reason to lobby.

                  And I can’t think of any instance were a corporation lobbied to for more law that wasn’t a benefit.

                  Like insurance companies lobbying to keep other insurance companies from crossing state lines.

            2. That’s like saying that the mob would have less influence if we got rid of the police.

              Well, close. The mob would have much less influence if we got rid of the victimless crimes that create the black markets that the mob runs.

    4. The Pharm corporations just want tested, scientifically validated drugs for our benefit Scotch. If they corner the market legally, since the rule of law is what keeps us from spiraling into anarchy. MJ hasn’t been proven to help anybody; it’s still a schedule one drug. Except for the pill form, but that was developed by The Pharm corporations. The stonertarians just want to rationalize their scabby addictions on society.

      1. Do you have any idea why MJ is a Schedule 1 drug? You talk about the Pharm corps like they are mainly interested in creating drugs that help people. Sorry, Law. They are mainly interested in creating drugs that make big profits. Period. MJ cannot fill that role for pharma because it’s a weed and can be grown by anyone, anywhere. Drugs, on the other hand, require lots of science and engineering. The drug-creation process is easily controlled by pharma.

        Pharma companies are one component of a triumverate that lobbied Congress in the early 1900’s to make MJ a schedule 1 drug (which happened in 1937, not long after alcohol became legal again). There’s much to write about regarding the history of MJ’s transition from a plant that formed the paper on which our Constitution was written to being the source of blowhard bloviating I am exposed to all the time (and which you succumb to). If you are really interested in understanding why it’s illegal, try Googling “Harry Anslinger”, “William Randolph Hearst”, and “Racism in early 1900’s America”. Of course, if your position is simple “Obey the law”, then you are inflexible in thought and therefore a useless conversation partner.

        For what it’s worth, MJ should not be a Schedule 1 drug. It creates fewer health problems than alcohol and has no documented cases of someone dying because of smoking too much weed. It could be a source for new products, and many industries could benefit from its declassification. Plus, there is money to be made, an issue I’m sure you are very interested in given your penchant for stroking Big Pharma.

  8. I understand that nobody here likes marijuana prohibition my trolling, including yours truly…but including this my trolling non-story indicates that Sullum I is am stretching to find his my daily dose of outrage self-flagellation.

  9. The Prosecutor’s job is not to excercise discretion tempered with compassion and common sense. The Prosecutor’s job is to put away as many people as it takes to get a tough on crime record that propels him or her to a Senate seat.

    1. “”The Prosecutor’s job is to put away as many people as it takes to get a tough on crime record that propels him or her to a Senate seat.””

      And that says more about the voting public than prosecutors.

  10. OK, NutraSweet, fess up…this is just you trying to torture me, right?

    Jeez, dude, way to make it all about you.

    1. It is all about me, obviously.

  11. I know next to nothing about the law in Jersey, but couldn’t the judge sentenced him to 5 years time served? Ya know like they do on the teevee.

  12. NJ has one of the worst medical cannabis laws in the country. any mmj law that puts the state in charge of growing, harvesting, and distributing is bullshit that will give patients limited choice, lower quality, and higher prices. I feel that if a state is going to legalize medical marijuana then they must include a provision to allow patients to grow their own, as well as allowing a free market approach for growing and distributing the medicine.

    1. The left-coasters got this one right, Hacha, at least in concept. California is going to try and legalize it at the state level, a process that will bring the free market into play. It will also remove most of the criminal element, reduce prison congestion and cost, and improve tax receipts that fill the state’s coffers.

      People make their own beer and wine. Some will likely grow their own pot (if this becomes law). The vast majority, however, will be consumers of commercial growing operations that will increase revenue and be governed by state law and the law of free market. I’m looking forward to this debate!

  13. Christie could help himself, I believe, by commuting this guy’s sentence. I doubt it would hurt him with the right-wing enough to matter, since he’s got major cred with them on his budget efforts. And it would really cross the wires of the left-wing.

    As a former prosecutor, he should be pretty much immune to the soft-on-crime thing.

    And it would give him national press, stature, even, if he spun it as a principled “implementing what the voters want, even if I may have different views”.

    The odds he will do this? Next to none, I would guess.

    1. “The odds he will do this? Next to none, I would guess.”

      Agreed, Christie isn’t looking for his “Nixon to China” moment on this issue. I was rooting for Chris Daggett to win that race, and I haven’t seen anything yet that makes me regret that decision. Granted, I’m not sure Daggett would’ve been much better.

  14. Meh. Everyone knows MJ causes MS.

    1. Wuz up is Juanita.

  15. Gosh, I wonder how Corzine would have responded if some pompous fuckhead had told him, as he was lying in a hospital bed with a broken femur, that he couldn’t have any pain medicine, because somebody, somewhere, had suffered adverse consequences from pain medicine.

    Goddammit, these people piss me off.

    1. Because legally prescribed pain medication is FDA reviewed and approved for pain. And he wouldn’t be denied pain medication unless he was allergic to it. And if Corzine was using MJ illegally when he had his accident, then he should be punished under the equally like any other criminal.

      1. Well, we all know the FDA does a stand-up job regulating mediciations. Fen-phen, anyone? Yaz? Vioxx? All regulated, all deadly.

      2. where do you live? here in the US its very hard for legitimate pain patients to get prescribed even the FDA approved pain killers. if a doctor treats his patients pain he risks having his license revoked and going to jail because the DEA thinks prescribing narcotics means you are a quack running a pill mill. wait till they are in pain, then they can be the ones to deal with the system they’ve created.

  16. And he wouldn’t be denied pain medication unless he was allergic to it.

    You’re new around here, aren’t you?

    Haha, just kidding.

  17. Several months ago, there was a 45-minute period when sockpuppet trolling was funny. Everyone seems to have learned the wrong lesson from it.

    1. Since I don’t use them, I’ll take the “no fake handle/sockpuppet” pledge right now.

  18. At least he’ll get free healthcare where he’s going.

  19. scabby addictions on society

    That would be a swell title for a punk album.

  20. Dammitsomuch. My mom has MS. I know the pain she goes through. I know what could help her. SHE knows what could help her. F*** each and every person who keeps this plant illegal so they can look smug. I hope the prosecutor gets some painful untreatable disease.

    1. Aren’t there safer drugs available by proscription?

      1. Aren’t there safer drugs available by proscription?

        What is this, RC’z Law Day, and nobody told me?

        1. It’s roughly the samething as a prescription but it’s delivered via the prostate.

      2. Yea Juanita, a bunch of safer drugs available by proscription:

        Oxy-Codeine
        Methadone
        Zanax
        Percs
        and entire collection of Opium based drugs that have claimed the lives of many people including the following:
        – Rick James
        – Anna Nicol Smith
        – Anna Nicol Smith’s son
        – Heath Ledger
        – Cory Hiam
        – etc, etc. etc.

      3. It would be hard to find something safer – except for all the lead and handcuffs that fly around in “those parts” of town.

  21. I don’t know if the word “dodged” applies here. Technically, unless convicted, you are presumed innocent, so how could the governor pardon a person presumed to be innocent?

    The SAME WAY Gerald Ford PARDON’s Richard Nixxon before conviction and impeachment.

  22. Five years in prison for flowers used by seriously ill people to relieve their suffering? Barbaric, but on an epic scale.

    I wonder what the effect of prison, the change in quality of medical care, and the absence of marijuana will be on this man’s health. Seems quite possible it could kill him.

    If I had my pick of historical floral mass delusions, I’d pick the Dutch Tulip Craze over Reefer Madness. Not quite as savage, more bizarre, and not nearly so long.

  23. wait, theres still people out there who think marijuana should stay illegal? Theres lots of them you say? Oh god!

  24. Hey — if Christie is so concerned about the budget, he should pardon Wilson, then the state wouldn’t have to pay for his room, board, and medical treatment.

  25. Wow. this place is terrifying. Did Sully read the comments section before he linked here? I mean, I know he’s somewhat libertarian himself, but…

    yikes.

    Law & Order, you strike me as the biggest troll of all, just playing devil’s advocate without any real ideological justification. Law for law’s own sake is not a normative good. In fact, it’s damn close to fascism. Pharm companies don’t want us to be safe – they want to make money. That’s not their fault – that’s the outcome of a capitalist system (and I’m not arguing that such a system has any better alternative). But – you can see how the Pharm companies’ intent of making $$ won’t necessarily align with the general populations intent of getting drug care. And that’s where the government comes in – FDA, etc. If you really believe that less regulation would be better, well, it depends on what you mean by ‘better’. If you mean it would result in higher profit margins for the companies, then it probably would. But we’d also all be a bunch of laudanum addicts.

  26. As Mayor of the town, I, Stanky McFarland, do decree and declare that Ray J otherwise known as John Ray Wilson is a free man.

    MS, isn’t that a chronic condition?

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