Harrisburg, PA - Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on Wednesday praised Governor Tom Wolf for signing a pardon to formally forgive a former Delaware County ophthalmologist who grew marijuana plants as medical treatment for his dying wife.
“Here’s a doctor of 30 years who had not so much as a speeding ticket, and then his whole life is ruined for giving his wife medicine that’s now legal in Pennsylvania,” Fetterman said. “This is a prime example of the destructive power of reefer madness.”
Paul Ezell, 65, was turned in to police because some plant clippings were discovered while he was trashing the grow operation, after his wife died. He said he was using the plant to reduce his wife’s use of her prescribed opioids.
In 2014 he was sent to jail and served six months before being released for good behavior. He pleaded guilty to a felony, which means he can’t practice medicine. The pardon is the first step to getting his record cleared, allowing him to return to his profession as an eye doctor.
“He lost his wife, his career, everything,” Fetterman said. “Today, Dr. Ezell can start to rebuild his life. Cases like his illustrate why we must end marijuana prohibition before it destroys one more life.”
Fetterman chairs the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and developed an expedited process to clear marijuana charges until full recreational legalization passes in Pennsylvania. The Board of Pardons in its March meeting voted to send Ezell’s case to the governor, who solely carries the power to pardon. Ezell’s case was among others the governor signed Wednesday.
The case of Ezell’s daughter, a nurse who also lost her license because of the charges, will be heard before the Board of Pardons in June.
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