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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Jailed for helping people in pain

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The latest blow in the so called war against marijuana is against a man whose only crime has been to help people who are in so much pain they are prepared to break the law.

Tony Bower has been supplying his Mullaways Medical Cannabis tincture for years and – despite it being used by some high profile people in terminal pain and being advocated by a number of doctors – he has been harassed at every turn.

Yesterday he was jailed for 12 months for his trouble. He was not given bail and must serve a non-parole period of at least nine months.

It is noteworthy that the magistrate who sentenced Mr Bower, Wayne Evans, is the first NSW policeman to have risen to the position. He has been the local magistrate since 1997.

If Mr Bower were operating in many other parts of the world his activities would be legal and he would likely be a millionaire by now.

Despite an upper house inquiry considering legalising the medicinal use of cannabis in NSW, we still waste millions of dollars and police time and resources on our oxymoronic ‘Cannabis Eradication Program’.

Hopefully this magistrate’s decision will be marked as the moment public opinion and political will turned against this useless criminalzisation of a naturally occurring plant that, for all its faults, potentially has a legion of medicinal benefits.

Cannabis is not without its problems and there will always be people for whom it is not a good choice. But while it remains illegal, users will continue to be second class citizens with fewer rights than their alcoholic peers.

Nothing substantial will change with the legalisation of marijuana, except perhaps an improvement in the state of government coffers. And perhaps some drug companies will have their noses out of joint.

In the US, public opinion in favour of marijuana law reform and same sex marriage are about even. In Australia almost 70 per cent of people polled support gay marriage. It would be interesting to see the level of support for the legalisation of marijuana.

Yesterday’s decision was another blow against human rights and freedoms in our supposedly democratic state.

– Chris Dobney, Editor

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  1. Yesterday was a tragic day. Tragic because a good person has been jailed for helping people who most need help, and tragic because cannabis prohibition is still enshrined in our laws despite the blindingly obvious fact that prohibition causes rather than mitigates harm.

    Why is prohibition still happening?

    On Wednesday April 14, 1937, the United States Government signed a document called the Marihuana Tax Bill, which formally initiated a “war” against all forms of Cannabis sativa – both industrial hemp and marijuana. This is despite the spectacular failure of alcohol prohibition the decade before, allowing the likes of Al Capone to capitalise upon the corruption of a previously legitimate market. Alcohol prohibition lasted for less than a decade, yet cannabis prohibition has been stoically maintained by world leaders for three quarters of a century – the most part of which included prohibition against even using hemp for its industrial uses. The stated rationale behind prohibition is the responsibility of our governments to prevent people from causing harm to themselves and others, with overtones of the morally righteous punishing the wicked for their sins. The reality is that prohibition was never enacted to protect people and prevent the harmful effects of cannabis use. The 1930’s were a time of intense paranoia, an era sandwiched between two world wars. Fear of Communism was rampant, and marijuana smoking “undesirables” were targeted as potential Communists. Placing restrictions on their drug of choice enabled a high level of control over this targeted group. The US Drug Enforcement Agency, which had become the largest Federal Government department during the era of alcohol prohibition, was desperate for a drug to control in order to maintain its legitimacy. It was also a time when the likes of DuPont had created a range of petrochemical-based “wonder-fibres” such as nylon. Hemp was the main competitor, and the hemp industry was undergoing full-scale mechanisation, riding on the wave of the industrial revolution. It is of little surprise that Harry Anslinger, Head of the USDEA, was married into the DuPont Empire. Pharmaceutical giants supported prohibition, and their factory-concocted medicines replaced naturally-derived medicines. Let’s have an unblinkered look at the repercussions of prohibition. Cannabis use has dramatically increased since it was prohibited to the point at which around 3 million Australians are now regular cannabis users. This outcome is completely contrary to the stated aims of prohibition. Huge amounts of resources are poured into enshrining prohibition – policing, maintaining legal structures and building and running prisons – costing billions of dollars per year. At best this can only be considered to be an irresponsible and reckless waste considering the ineffectiveness of these resources to control cannabis use; at worst, it suggests corruption at the highest levels, and agendas which are not in the interest of human well-being. Prohibition inevitably creates a black market which has little or no regulation. This means that no legitimate funds – which can be used to reduce harm caused by drugs – can be derived from the multi-billion dollar cannabis market. More insidiously, the huge profit potential created by the black market allows individuals and organisations to fund activities which can be immensely harmful – it is well known that organisations such as the CIA have funded behind-the-scene wars and power plays using funds from drug-producing industries that they control. The human cost of prohibition is exceptional. Millions of people worldwide have been incarcerated – sometimes indefinitely – for their use of cannabis and other drugs or for playing a role in the black market which is promulgated by prohibition laws. There is little support or encouragement for people seeking assistance with drug-related issue and all illicit drug users face the potential of serious legal, emotional and financial stress even if their choice to use drugs causes no harm. Cannabis prohibition also prevented the use of hemp for even industrial purposes to produce food, fibre and fuel despite the fact that industrial hemp does not produce psychoactive concentrations of THC.
    It is blindingly obvious that drug prohibition exacerbates rather than mitigates harm caused by drugs, and that prohibition laws increase rather than reduce drug production and consumption. Yet our leaders continue to perpetuate prohibition at all costs despite the fact that the majority of Australians do not support cannabis prohibition. This can only cause rational people to question whether our leaders are indeed acting in our interests. The unsavoury reality is that the human propensity towards self-interest and corruption is all too predictable, and the lucrative potential of the drug-fuelled black market is too tempting. Wealthy individuals and organisations have immense vested interests in maintaining prohibition to profit from the market and to maintain control over populations. The true rationale and motivations behind prohibition can only be considered as psychopathic, devoid of any compassion for human suffering, and focused only on self-gain. This is why it is essential to continue to challenge the paradigms of prohibition, and to strongly question the motivation of leaders who perpetuate prohibition laws. It is the fundamental right of people to do what they want until they cause harm to others or the environment. True Leaders respect the rights of humans and certainly don’t make laws that cause people harm. True Leaders will allow people to use hemp for all its beneficial purposes, and to use cannabis medically, recreationally and ceremonially based on properly considered age, driving, workplace and public area restrictions. True Leaders, we need you to roar!

  2. And while the police and courts are wasting their resources and tax-payers money on this sort of prosecution, our country descends further into the morass of firearms-related crime and alcohol-fueled violence that has become daily news. What a sad joke.


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