Lesniak, Scutari Call For Pardon For Man Sentenced To Prison In Medicinal Marijuana Case

TRENTON – Calling a Franklin Township man’s five-year prison sentence for growing marijuana used to alleviate his suffering from multiple sclerosis “cruel, unusual and unnecessary,” Senators Raymond J. Lesniak and Nicholas P. Scutari (both D-Union) today called on Governor Chris Christie to issue a pardon in the case.

A state court last week sentenced John Ray Wilson to five years in prison for growing marijuana in his backyard. Wilson – who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS) and used the drug only to alleviate his symptoms – was given the minimum term for second-degree drug manufacturing and a three-year sentence for possession.

“The state used poor judgment in charging Mr. Wilson with drug manufacturing,” the Senators wrote in their letter to Gov. Christie. “There was no evidence provided by the prosecution during his trial that anyone else used the marijuana he grew in his backyard in order to find a small measure of relief from his chronic illness. The decision to bring drug manufacturing charges against Mr. Wilson demonstrates a clear case of absence of prosecutorial discretion. That is cruel, unusual and unnecessary.”

The lawmakers urged the Governor to use his power of pardon to commute Wilson’s prison sentence to a period of supervised probation.

“Doing the right thing and saving taxpayer dollars. It doesn’t get much better than that,” Lesniak and Scutari wrote. “The only good coming from allowing this sentence to stand is that Mr. Wilson will now be able to get the pain-easing drugs he could not afford in freedom, but now at the taxpayers’ expense.”

Click here to read a copy of Senator Lesniak’s and Senator Scutari’s letter to Governor Christie, seeking clemency for John Ray Wilson.