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May 6, 2021

Medicine man jailed

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tony-bowerLuis Feliu

Campaigners for the use of medicinal cannabis are outraged over a one year jail sentence given to a prominent north coast grower of the herb when he appeared in Kempsey Court yesterday.

Supporters of Tony Bower, 56, who is being held in custody despite lodging an appeal against the sentence, which carries a nine month non-parole period, say they will continue his work dispensing medicinal cannabis to cancer sufferers and others with terminal or debilitating illnesses.

Mr Bower was charged after a police raid on his Mullaway property last year, which netted around 200 hemp plants that he had earmarked for production of medical tincture to distribute, free, to sufferers.

His partner Julie told Echonetdaily that she and others attending the court in solidarity were shocked he was not given bail after magistrate Wayne Evans said Mr Bower was not remorseful and would continue to give away the tincture.

An appeal date has been set down for June 3.

Possession, growing and distribution of cannabis is illegal in NSW but a NSW Upper House inquiry is currently considering legalising the drug for medicinal use.

Spokesman for the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Embassy in Nimbin, Michael Balderstone, said Mr Bower’s supporters had promised to continue his work.

Mr Balderstone said Mr Bower was now unlikely to attend Nimbin’s 21st annual cannabis law reform rally, the MardiGrass, on the first weekend of May, where he had been expected to speak.

Mr Balderstone said the news had upset a lot of people in the village.

‘Tony does nothing but good for poor and sick people. It has fired up the protest because we all know him personally, some of us for a long time, and he is such a genuine fellow,’ he said.


‘Tony is a self taught healer who American medical cannabis experts talk to for advice. He is one in a million, a modern day medicine man.

‘He distributes free his medical cannabis tincture to hundreds of sufferers. Many have cancer, but there are also many other sicknesses that Tony treats, like Crohn’s disease.

‘For these people nothing else works. Many of his patients were crying outside the court yesterday.

‘We urge everyone who understands how shameful the cannabis laws are and the suffering they are causing to come and voice their concern and express their outrage at MardiGrass, the weekend after next. It’s time the laws changed.’

Mr Bower appeared on a popular television program in Queensland a few weeks ago in a story showing that his tincture had stopped a seven year old child from having her (Dravet Syndrome) epileptic fits.

Mr Balderstone said that since the program aired, the HEMP Embassy has been inundated with phone calls ‘and people have been driving for hours to get here just in the hope of getting some of Tony’s medicine’.

‘The girl featured on the program had been suffering from debilitating seizures since she was six weeks old. Surely no one would want to stop her getting such relief?’

Mr Balderstone urged people to see the footage for themselves:


Mr Bower has been supplying free tincture to several hundred patients, most with cancer, for several years now and has applied for a licence with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

His crop was taken by police as it was about to be harvested.

Mr Balderstone said, ‘we desperately need some decent politician to put medical cannabis on the agenda because the word is out about the healing powers of this plant.

‘It’s not just hippies talking now, it’s the internet. Since half of America now has legal medical cannabis there are stories emerging daily of, not miracle cures, but cannabis cures. It has become an extremely unpleasant job for the volunteers at the HEMP Embassy having to tell these people we cannot help them.

‘Every plant the police took from the Mullaways medical crop was labelled for a patient, every patient has a doctor’s letter.

‘He’s written countless letters and applications in years of trying to get a sane hearing.

‘Tony promises his work will go on regardless and as more and more people take advantage of the knowledge on the internet on making your own tincture, it’s hard to argue with him.’


• Also see our editorial Jailed for helping people in pain


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  1. Well I hope you are proud of yourself magistrate Wayne Evans, you absolute hypocrite. The way our pathetic justice system is headed in this country, people would get less for manslaughter soon; and here you are condemning a man whose only goal is to help people. He’s not even making money from it! HAVE WE ALL GONE MAD!!
    I suppose its easy to sit there in your high chair being Holier than Thou; but I wonder if you may be a customer of his if you were in the pain the people he helps are. The people you have now ensured stay in pain. At the end of the day you have achieved nothing. He will be released, it will be legalised, and narrow-minded dinosaurs like yourself will be relegated to the sidelines where you belong. Tony Bower is the future, where as you and your kind are very quickly becoming the past.
    Can’t come soon enough Mr Evans.

  2. Blame the police, they keep carrying out the elite and big business interests against the will of the people and their well being, and keep turning up to all sorts of atrocities and wrong doings on poor people. The sad part is that we finance these mongrels.

  3. How depressing. A mean-spirited judgement, by all concerned. Tony Bower is a good man, not a criminal. Jail should be the last resort, for violent offenders.

  4. This is craziness, what can we do to help this man & the goodness he brings to our world?
    He was refused bail for not being remorseful & the risk that he would continue to give away the tincture, but surely giving away the tincture is legal & what he was charged with was growing the crop?
    There is a miscarriage of justice here & surely this can be recognized & his release obtained?
    Sadly it reminds me a little of the persecution of Christ by the Jews & Romans in authority, that’ll make Tony laugh!
    But in all seriousness this man deserves accolades not persecution, his ground-breaking work deserves recognition by authority at the highest level & I congratulate him for having the strength of his convictions.
    Tony, I salute you!

  5. The moral of this story should come as no surprise to anyone who has given up the kool-aid of corporate controlled media and come to the realization that government is controlled by a parasitic clique that profits from the misery it inflicts upon the citizenry.

  6. Jailed for showing no remorse in regards to giving FREE medical hemp tincture to cancer sufferers & terminally ill people who can’t afford. What a load of crap. This man should be praised for helping those less fortunate.

  7. As heart-wrenching as this story is, what is truly saddening to me is the amazing ignorance being displayed within the comments made before me. There were several comments made against the magistrate and the police department, as well as a large number of comments as to the ludicrous nature of Tony Bower being held in custody. All of these comments blatantly failed to acknowledge the fact that, as good as Tony’s intentions may have been, he nonetheless committed several offences against the Drugs Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (with sections 5, 23, 24 and 25 being very relevant).

    The magistrate simply followed the procedure of his employment in charging Tony. He was not sitting in his high chair being “holier than thou”, he was simply following the correct judicial procedure for clear drug offences. So perhaps what you all may wish to consider next time you think of going on a political rant that displays your remarkable ignorance of the judicial system in which you exist, perhaps you may want to indulge in a bit of intellectual thought for once in your pathetic lives.

    • You’re kidding me? Tony may have committed several offences, but the magistrate didn’t have to enforce the laws. He could, as he did two years ago with a drink driver standing before him with a blood alcohol reading of 0.206 who had an accident, simply “let him go”. THAT would be justice for Tony and a message that the laws are simply not appropriate.

      Perhaps you should indulge in a bit of intellectual thought for once in your pathetic life.

  8. The child featured in this video is my grandaughter. She has been seizure-free since starting on this treatment. Prior to that she had 70+ seizures a day, and was not expected to live more than a few months.

    Now she has quality of life, but for how much longer?

    The jailing of Tony Bower is a national disgrace. The tincture he provides to chronically ill patients is life-saving in the majority of cases. How on earth can he be jailed for saving lives?

    In other countries, he would probably be labelled a hero.

  9. So what’s happening here??!! A judge who can’t see any remorse in that angel of a man for helping others? it’s 2013 and we have to face those attitudes! it’s just unreal..but wait..it’s not.

  10. Ignorance is a choice these days with all the information available in regards to alternative medicines. GET THIS MAN OUT OF JAIL…He is NOT a criminal. I’ve reversed 3 medical conditions with the aid of alternative medication, hemp being one of them. Time for the world to stand up against the Pharmaceutical companies. Take off your rose coloured glasses people and make the change to legalise hemp from medicinal use. FFS!!!

  11. This is outright murder, war on the sick and dying… Surely this is a sign for us that we have had enough of genocide. It time for us to reclaim our lives from the hands of immorality!

  12. Prohibition is an absolute scourge —The End!  The use of drugs is NOT the real problem, the system that grants exclusive distribution rights to violent cartels, terrorists, and corrupt politicians most definitely IS.

    Prohibitionists are simply traitors that haven’t yet been Tried and Executed!

  13. I’d just like to thank Tony Bower and others for the work they do and I’ll share a story why.. a year ago my mother passed away from cancer she had over 4 years. The chemotherapy hit her particularly hard esp. debilitating nerve pain and her circulation in her feet and hands dying. The hospital prescribed these strong chemical patches which helped a bit with the pain but came with a huge list of negative side effects such a depression anxiety mood swings and suicidal thoughts! why would you give this to a dying person?! god knows what nasty stuff was in them. after a while of my mum taking this and being unhappy and still uncomfortable with pain we looked beyond the medical system and eventually got hold of these tinctures. Mum hadn’t had cannabis before in her life and had always been anti drug but by this stage she was willing to try anything. They did not make her ‘out of it’ as most of the psycho active ingredients are removed in this medical cannabis. She did have mild side effects like feeling calm, happy, hungry and sleeping well which are all good things for cancer patients and a more dignified way to be in the dying process than what the hospital gave her. I was really so surprised for the nerve pain relief it worked 20 times than what the hospital gave her. It was then that I realised what medical cannabis campaigners where going on about. Obviously the laws are not about helping people but making drug companies profits. This man was not even making money out of his tinctures ..which I imagine is very threatening to the powers that be.. Thanks again to Tony and people like him helping the terminally ill live humanely. And thank you for helping our beautiful mum..

  14. Wayne Evans (magistrate): I think appeal to the district court and watch his verdict stomped into the ground by a judge more attuned to the needs of society. I feel really that the man has no case to answer, the product was tested by the police and found to contain no illegal compounds, just the growing of the plants happens to be illegal, ask yourself this: how many cops smoke dope?

  15. This is absolutely shameful. The prohibition of marijuana is disgraceful, as are those involved in enforcing these unjust laws. It’s time for change.

  16. I, like many who admire & support the work of this amazing, committed man, am devastated by the harshness of this sentence. I know so many people who have had their lives changed after using cannabis tincture, less pain, less nausea, less wasting, they can keep food down, have increased mobility..not to mention improvements in their mental health as a result. Some of these people turned to this medicine as allopathic medicine had failed them, was too costly, or had terrible side effects. Tony’s conviction & dedication is an inspiration. I hope a multitude of tincture producers is spawned by this injustice. Tony is a humble hero in my opinion.

  17. Cancer sufferers of Australia cannot let this happen. Is there a petition that we can sign? We must all get together to legalise medical marijuana? and make sure Mr Bower is free as soon as possible. Australian cancer patients have the right to use this wonderful herb. This should become a united campaign. I can this has the potential to bring about change, the history of Mr Bower, tied in with Campaign and Support plus petition footage in Nimbin in May. Unite Australian cancer patients and carers.

  18. Laws need to change! NOW! I am not a believer in marijuana use for recreation but it is absolutely the right of every person to get the medical help appropriate to them.
    The judge should be the one apologising at having to up hold out dated laws, however he could have given a light sentence and bail. One year is just outrageous.
    Please don’t blame or be angry at the police. They too are just doing what is required of them by law. What we really need is an urgent bill to be passed to make medical marijuana legal and put quality legislation in place to monitor the prescription of it. Even if a year long trial was put in place immediately with unlimited medical participants until the legal system caught up. For cancer patients…morphine or medical marijuana? To me people should have the choice and I know which I would choose. It may not always be the answer to the pain but I would try medical marijuana first!
    Here’s hoping common sense prevails and soon.

  19. Recently the Greens John Kaye brought a bill to the NSW govt to legislate for medical marijuana. I’m proud of being a Greens member because they’re the only political party who has sensible views on this subject. The other parties don’t care how many harmless young people and Aboriginal people get harassed and criminalised because of marijuana. Tony Bower is a hero.

  20. The world is sick, and the “powers that be” are the disease.
    Amazed at the lack of empathy shown by Wayne Evans…but then again I wonder if Wayne Evans knows what it is like to help somebody out of the goodness of your heart, not for a fee or price of some sort. When you dedicate your life to the distribution of misery, I guess it would be hard to not see everything in those terms.
    Tony is the disributor of hope. He does good for others for free; that concept is so alien to our “rulers” they believe it should be punished.
    Sick world indeed!

  21. In the words of M Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850):
    The “law” PERVERTED!!! The law and in its wake, all the collective forces of the nation – the law, I say, not only diverted from its proper direction, but made to pursue one entirely contrary! The law become the tool of every kind of avarice, instead of being its check! The law guilty of that very iniquity which it was its mission to punish!
    and in the words of Brigadier General Smedley D Butler:
    [the] War [on drugs] is a racket!! [but it keeps the wheels of the law enforcement industry turning day and night never mind who it harms or prevents being aided] [my emphasis]
    ….and yes it is fully supported by public apathy.

  22. The child featured above is my daughter. Also in that video is young Molly who sadly lost her battle with dravet syndrome last yr. in the last 12months too many dravet children have died. We have no other options – they don’t work, good seizure control for a child with dravet is still uncontrolled to everyone else. These kids deserve a chance. My Tara deserves to live.
    Today I am sad to be an Australian. Whilst Tony sits in a jail cell wondering what he is going to do, I sit here wondering if my 7 year old daughter will now live to see Christmas.
    In December last year we were told 2013 would most likely be her last year on earth. We didn’t give up quite so easily. We were not willing to say goodbye yet. Tara has such a rare disorder that officially it doesn’t have a name, the closest known disorder is Dravet Syndrome (this is similar but Tara is progressing much quicker) Between October 2012 and January 2013 Tara was resuscitated 3 times, twice by me, her mum. Most likely she would not survive the next time. By this time Tara was taking 5 different medications (18 tablets a day), she was dying. That was until we found Tony Bower. Tony is NOT a criminal to me; he is a crusader, my hero. Without a doubt he has saved my child’s life. But now with Tony sitting in Jail we have no further supply of medical cannabis coming in, this means without a doubt Tara will die. Medical cannabis is all that is keeping her alive.
    So what was it doing? In January Tara was having 10major seizures a day, and half hourly absence seizures and 5 nocturnal seizures. For the record YES that is over 23000 seizures a year!!!! No drug was working, she always had seizures day in day out from when she was just six weeks old. We were told her IQ was now too low to score dropping from 82 four years earlier and her brain had begun to shut down. We were on the home stretch she simply could not continue like this. Within a day of starting Medical cannabis Tara’s seizures had halved. By 10 days she was seizure free. Now four months on she has only had one 90 second seizure since February. She has started to learn again, she can write her name, she can memorise a basic text. She is no longer using her walking frame and has begun toilet training.
    Without Tony and crusaders like him we will lose too many children way too soon. By denying Tara her medical cannabis the government has effectively signed her death certificate. Please have legislation changed before it is too late, children and adults around this country will die without Tony Bowers Medical Cannabis, he MUST be released as I fear if he isn’t there is simply no option left for my child. I plea to you please do not allow my child or others like her to die, simply because our laws here have not caught up with the rest of the world. Please shout this message through social media, talk with friends ring/email your MP. Until Tony is not only freed but is free to continue his work!

    • Hello Cheri. I am also a patient. As I was driving to Nimbin last week I was thinking of your daughter who suffers from epileptic fits. I was thinking of all the sick and chronically ill people. I live on the Sunshine Coast. I’m the president of HEMP Party, Sunshine Coast and in our Facebook page I have photos of how to make tincture. I will be putting more info up on how to make it. When you run out, get in contact with me. I think your daughter’s needs outweigh mine.

  23. I think the Americans showed conclusivly that prohibition doesn’t work but only helps the criminal organisations make lots of money and create social havoc.

  24. What seems to have eluded the judge, is that Tony Bower grows a particular kind of cannabis that has been specially developed for medicinal use. The major active substances it contains are 95% THCA – and only 5% THC, which is the psychotropic substance that produces a “high”.

    What that means in language even a judge would comprehend is that you could smoke Tony’s cannabis until you were blue in the face and it wouldn’t produce any of the effect cannabis smokers seek and enjoy.

    We’re not talking here about somebody who set out to
    secretly grow and supply dried cannabis leaf for smokers or for profit. We are talking about a very genuine man who has quite openly promoted the healthy properties of cannabis, who has had his strain of non-psychotropic cannabis independently verified and who has been in dialogue with the government for several years regarding its cultivation and use.

    The Law may be structured so that growing any kind of cannabis is currently illegal, but there is no ruling to compel a judge to impose a custodial sentence when the mitigating circumstances are so plainly obvious and well supported by so much evidence and so many people.

    The Law truly is an ass.


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