Pubdate: Sat, 20 Mar 2010
Source: Daily Record, The (Parsippany, NJ)
Copyright: 2010 The Daily Record
Author: Michael Deak


SOMERVILLE -- A Franklin man with multiple sclerosis was sentenced 
today to five years in prison for growing marijuana that he has said 
was used for medicinal purposes.

The sentence handed down to John Wilson is the minimum prison term 
that he could have received.

Wilson's attorney, James Wronko, said he will file a motion to stay 
the sentence pending an appeal.

Superior Court Judge Robert Reed, who handed down the sentence, said 
that Wilson in six months could be eligible for the the New Jersey 
Intensive Supervision Program in which certain offenders, sentenced 
to state prison, are given an opportunity to work their way back into 
the community under intensive supervision.

Reed also did not sentence Wilson to a period of parole 
ineligibility. Because this is his first conviction on an indictable 
offense, Wilson could be eligible for a parole in little over a year.

"It's the least period of imprisonment I could impose," said Reed.

The state attorney general's office, which prosecuted the case, was 
asking Reed to impose a seven-year sentence.

Reed said that a pre-sentencing report said that Wilson was diagnosed 
with MS when he was 30 in 2002, but that he had been smoking 
marijuana on a daily basis since he was 15.

Wronko said Wilson began using marijuana to treat the symptoms of MS 
because he did not have insurance and could not afford prescriptions.

Before Reed delivered the sentence, Wilson admitted he had broken the law.

"I am not a bad person," Wilson told the judge. "I just made a 
horrible mistake."

"I'm truly sorry for what I've done," Wilson said.

Because he couldn't afford insurance, Wilson said he has used 
alternative treatments, including vitamins and bee venom.

Wilson said he recently had three "flare-ups" of MS and has ended up 
in the hospital twice. 
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