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