Supporters of medical cannabis pioneer Tony Bower, who was jailed last month for a year for growing plants to make his popular medicinal tincture, will protest outside deputy premier Andrew Stoner’s Kempsey office today.
Mr Bower has appealed the jail sentence handed down by a Kempsey magistrate last month but is still in custody pending the hearing of that appeal on June 3.
People suffering from terminal or debilitating illnesses using his tincture are expected to plead for his release, including a mother and her child, who has severe epilepsy.
Nimbin’s HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) Embassy president Michael Balderstone says Mr Bower is in prison ‘because he refuses to stop helping people with terrible afflictions and cancer’.
‘It’s archaic that in this day and age Tony is locked up when we know his medicines are healing people who have not been able to fix their shocking problems with pharmaceuticals,’ Mr Balderstone said.
‘The fact that various vested interests like “Big Pharma” (global pharmaceutical corporations) will now be lobbying NSW parliamentarians to try to stop them implementing their medical cannabis committee’s recommendation to legalise its use, which was announced last week, is almost too sickening and frustrating to think about,’ he said.
Mr Balderstone has called on Mr Stoner to ‘understand the issue’, given that the deputy premier ‘recently announced his support for hemp foods, so why not the plant’s medical properties as well? It’s a no brainer.’
A statement from Mr Bower’s company, Mullaways Medical Cannabis Pty Ltd, said the NSW government ‘now has a mandate from the NSW public to bring in a sensible medical cannabis scheme to help as many people as possible and not the handful indicated by the inquiry members’ (sufferers of terminal diseases and full-blown AIDS).
‘The mandate states the sick should not be criminalised. Law must be implemented to reflect that,’ the statement said.
‘As Mullaways is in the electorate of Mr Stoner, will we ask him to assist Mullaways in complying with the regulations imposed by the Pharmaceutical Services Branch on our application to receive a licence to cultivate, possess and supply cannabis/cannabis plants for the purposes of scientific research, analysis and study pursuant to the Drugs Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW).
‘We will also be calling on the state government to contact the federal government to request the removal of cannabis from Schedule 1 as the therapeutic value of cannabis has now been accepted in NSW. This would allow research of cannabis and cannabinoid medicines within a proper regulatory framework.’
Today’s protest organisers will give Mr Stoner online petitions on medical cannabis and to free Mr Bower.
Mr Balderstone said that since Mr Bower was on television in Queensland recently in a story showing that his tincture had stopped a seven-year-old child from having her (Dravet Syndrome) epileptic fits, the HEMP Embassy had been inundated with calls to access the tincture ‘and driving for hours to get here just in the hope of getting some of Tony’s medicine’.
The video can be viewed on http://youtu.be/SHs4BqL1MUw
‘Now that half of America has legal medical cannabis there are stories emerging daily, of not miracle cures, but of cannabis cures for a number of ailments,’ Mr Balderstone said.
‘America’s laws have changed because the people kept demanding justice and a fair go.’