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Byron Shire
March 5, 2024

Black market medicinal cannabis in short supply

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Nimbin Hemp Embassy volunteers Donna Star and Vanessa Toms. (Darren Coyne)
Nimbin Hemp Embassy volunteers Donna Star and Vanessa Toms. (Darren Coyne)

Darren Coyne

The demand for black market medicinal marijuana has become so intense the Nimbin Hemp Embassy is urging people to ‘do it yourself’.

Embassy volunteers say they are fielding calls from across Australia on a daily basis from people desperate to get hold of either tinctures or oils to treat conditions ranging from cancer to epilepsy.

With medical cannabis advocate Tony Bower due to face court again this month, any remaining supplies of tincture are being reserved for the people, many of them children, that he has been supplying for free.

The Embassy has been selling ‘how to’ books for $2, with the proceeds going to Mr Bower’s legal defence.

Hemp Embassy volunteers Vanessa Toms and Donna Star told Echonetdaily that they were receiving up to 10 calls a day, with many more coming into the embassy.

‘The hardest thing is saying no to a parent with a sick child,” Ms Toms said.

‘I just had a lady in tears on the phone who is driving up from Victoria to Nimbin to buy some buds to make tincture because you can’t get decent mull in Melbourne, it’s all hydro,’ she said.

‘We have more than a 1000 people on the waiting list just for Tony’s product.’

Meanwhile, some local growers are attempting to meet the demand.

Some tincture is available in a few outlets, while others are defying police pressure to continue to supply the product over the internet.

Just recently Australian Federal Police arrested a person trading as The Don Medicinal Cannabis at Gold Coast airport.

Police confiscated 110 grams, or $11,000, worth of oil.

The 44-year-old is due to appear in Coolangatta Court on 8 September.

Meanwhile, almost 200,000 people have signed a petition calling on the NSW Govt to decriminalize medicinal cannabis, and a bill is expected to be tabled this month.

Coinciding with that, Lucy Haslam, whose son Dan is fighting terminal cancer, has started a fundraiser to conduct an advertising blitz to ‘ensure every MP knows how important it is for them to step up and change the laws’.

Premier Mike Baird has come out publicly saying that he would support the bill, but has expressed concerns about supply.

A Nimbin grower who asked to remain anonymous told Echonetdaily that there was plenty of expertise amongst local growers, who could be licensed to supply quality product.

The grower gave Echonetdaily a demonstration of how to make a particular type of tincture for pain relief, but he cautioned that there were a number of ways to make the product so that it dealt with specific illnesses or diseases.

Nimbin’s Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone also recently called on the government not to ignore the network and experience of Northern Rivers growers.

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  1. If medical cannabis is helping the very sick children and cancer patience then they should legalize it and l am sure the growers of Nimbin would be very good at helping out.

  2. There is so much proof that cannabis oils alleviates many conditions that thwarted customers should start suing the police and government for unnecessary pain and suffering.

  3. I worry that if it’s legalized then it’s going to end up controlled by pharmaceutical companies, sold in chemists, and hefty prices charged, putting it out of the reach of lower income people such as myself. I love that this is a medicine “for the people, by the people”. Let’s hope we can keep it this way.

  4. Hi, I really need to speak with Tony, can you please forward him my email and ask him to get in touch with me. My daughter is desperate and we need Tony’s advice. Thank you thank you thank you. Teresa

  5. Just legalise as the government can do what they want behind closed doors ? time to open the door to help sick and very ill health people government????? At least we do not hide unlike you all that rate yourselves way to high!! TIME TOO HELP WHAT IF IT WAS ONE OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS THINK ABOUT THAT LONG AND VERY HARD.

  6. I woulld like to know how to make my own, I have the product, I have MS, but some of the examples online make me worried I will blow myself up. I am regional and there is a blindness to this treatment. My argument, unless you walk in my shoes dont tell me I cant do it. I await your response.

  7. My wife suffers from chronic pain and is on three different kinds of medication to try reduce the pain , and treat the depression ,l have spoken with local doctors about prescribing cannabis oil but none of them are interested in “going down that path” . It’s a terrible thing to stand by and watch someone you love suffer while those who can help are reluctant to do so, makes me wonder if it’s a financial based decision? I don’t have enough connections to source the oil myself but l will keep looking,,God helps those who help themselves

  8. I have TGA approval and pay almost $910.00 per month for medicinal cannabis oil and $530.00 for CBD oil. I have several conditions being treated successfully. Fantastic! I have a life now that is almost pain free. Imagine now that in about 7 weeks I’ll run out of things to sell to pay for it. I’ll have to go back to opiates and zombie hood. If I stay legal.

  9. Medical marijuana in Australia is so ridiculously expensive. I have been referred by my Dr, when I called to make an appointment, I was informed that it’s going to cost
    $200 consulting fee
    $250 administration fee
    $150 – $350 for 4 to 6 weeks of medication
    I am a disability pensioner, on 40mg of morphine 4 times a day to try and deal with debilitating pain. I have been taking morphine for over 10 years, so it’s effectiveness is seriously reduced. I smoked marijuana for 20 years, but quit smoking when I had kids due to it being illegal. The amount of pain I now deal with leaves me unable to do simple things like play outside with my 3 and 5 year old daughter’s. I was actually excited at the thought of getting prescribed medical marijuana and finally been able to live a relatively normal life again. But that excitement was destroyed when I was told about the costs. I would need a higher dose of medical marijuana, so was looking at $350 every 4 weeks. It’s heartbreaking that it’s available, yet just out of reach due to costs. I have tried THC free CBD oil and it is great for my skin,hair and nails. Does absolutely nothing for my pain. My best friend has been diagnosed with MS in the last year, and mother in law has lung cancer. None of us can afford medical marijuana. It’s 2020 and time we caught up with what actually helps and what is causing the problem. Morphine is highly addictive yet covered by the government. Medical marijuana that won’t have people overdosing or abusing it like opioid abuse. Why is only the A.C.T. allowed to grow and own marijuana, while the rest of our country suffers.


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