Cannabis medicine man ‘not your standard criminal’

A tribute to Tony Bower in the Nimbin Hemp Embassy. (Darren Coyne)

A tribute to Tony Bower in the Nimbin Hemp Embassy. (Darren Coyne)

Darren Coyne

Medicinal cannabis advocate Tony Bower is a free man after being placed on parole for 12 months and described in court as not ‘your standard criminal’.

Mr Bower, whose company Mullaways Medical Cannabis supplies tincture to more than 150 people, many of them children, appeared in Port Macquarie District Court yesterday after an alleged breach of bond conditions.

He was sentenced to 12 months jail but released immediately on parole.

Last year he was charged by police with possessing about 200 cannabis plants and was sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Although his tincture, crafted from his own specially bred variety of cannabis called Cleverman, is not believed to be illegal, growing the plants to make the medicine is still a crime in NSW.

After Mr Bower served six weeks inside, the sentence was overturned on appeal in the Port Macquarie District Court, and he was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

Just days before that bond was completed, however, Mr Bower was arrested again after a police helicopter spotted his crop of 72 plants, each marked with a patient’s name.

His court appearance yesterday was in relation to the alleged breach of that good behaviour bond.

He will appear in court again on 28 August in relation to a cultivation charge.

‘The court found my case to be a “unique” one, and that I was “not the standard criminal” and that my intent was not founded on that of criminality but on compassion,’ Mr Bower posted on his Facebook page.

‘This ruling will help with my next upcoming court case… that’s gold!’

His solicitor Jamie Whitehead told Echonetdaily that the judge was ‘extremely sympathetic’ to Mr Bower’s situation.

‘Tony was sentenced to 12 months jail but the judge released him immediately on parole. He was extremely sympathetic to his plight but said he had broken the law,’ Mr Whitehead said.

‘Tony’s over the moon, he’s wrapt with the result,’ Mr Whitehead said.

Mr Whitehead said part of Mr Bower’s defence was that he believed the issue of a licence was imminent.

He said Mr Bower had given an undertaking to the court that he would cease cultivating plants for his tincture until he had a licence to do so.

Demand for cannabis tincture rising

Meanwhile the demand for cannabis tincture is rising.

Echonetdaily reported recently that the Nimbin Hemp Embassy was fielding up to ten calls a day from across Australia from people chasing the product.

Mr Whitehead said Mr Bower’s parole meant he would be unable to continue supplying his product.

‘It’s definitely going to leave a gap in the market,’ he said.

‘From our instruction he’s getting hammered every day by people who are after his tincture,’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth has overturned the approval of a trial of medicinal cannabis that had been granted by Norfolk Island’s government.

The island’s administrator, former Liberal MP Gary Hardgrave, vetoed the decision made by Norfolk Island’s authorities.

Earlier this month Norfolk Island gave Tasman Health Cannabinoids (THC) approval to grow medicinal cannabis.

The trial was originally proposed for Tasmania but the state Liberal Government rejected the bid citing concerns over safety and security, as well as potential damage to the state’s lucrative poppy industry.

Tasman Health Cannabinoids CEO Troy Langman told the ABC that he was notified of the decision about the Norfolk Island trial by email.

‘The reasons were exactly the same reasons we were given in Tasmania recently suggesting that we hadn’t addressed all the concerns that the government had,’ he said.

Mr Langman said he would now focus his attention on Tasmania once again.

‘We’ll never give up on Tasmania … Tasmania offers a particular climate that suits important genetics, cultivars or strains that we’d like to grow,” he said.

Tasmania’s shadow attorney general Lara Giddings said the Norfolk Island decision had put more pressure on the governments of Tasmania and Australia to resolve their issues with medicinal cannabis.

Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone recently told Echonetdaily that the government should utilize the expertise of northern rivers growers and develop a legitimate industry.

Following a fire which destroyed the Nimbin Museum and other buildings this week, Mr Balderstone said he would ‘love’ to see a medicinal cannabis dispensary built on the site.

Demand for tincture has been so great that Hemp Embassy volunteers have been urging people to make their own, selling how-to booklets for $2. The money raised has been going to Mr Bower’s court costs.

Meanwhile, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson is expected to introduce a private member’s bill into parliament this month.

It will be tabled in two parts: the first allowing terminally ill patients to avoid prosecution if they are caught with 15 grams or less of the drug and the second dealing with the issue of supply.



10 responses to “Cannabis medicine man ‘not your standard criminal’”

  1. Odette Nightsky says:

    He should be left to do what he does best. He is improving the quality of life for those in agony. If we are following america in just about everything (unfortunately) we should be at least following the legalizing use of medical marijuana.

  2. Peace Freeborn says:

    The government ought be held accountable for the pain and suffering of the patients this ruling will leave Tony unable to help.
    This heartless refusal to acknowledge the benefits of cannabis for people that need it for quality of life is totally unacceptable on every conceivable level.

  3. Alun BFree says:

    No victim no crime

  4. Therese Mackay says:

    This man is a true hero. He could just walk away and live a safe life like so many. In years to come I hope his compassion is acknowledged. The real criminals are the ones who are causing so much pain and suffering by holding their hands up in the air and saying “NO”. In a civilised country this would be recognised. We have such a long way to go to be called civilised when legal bodies which only exist because of our taxes deny pain relief and other kindness to very ill and or dying people.

  5. Ian Wickham says:

    Its even clearer than that. Relieving the victim is no crime, its medicine.

  6. Danny says:

    It would be great if this product was allowed to be sold to people who want and need it and kept low key from ignorant people who only feed the negative views associated with cannabis. I take hemp seed oil every day (perfectly legal) and instantly notice a difference with the health benefits. It should be available for people who go looking for it. You can shove your pharmaceutical synthetic drugs where they belong. End of line.

  7. Dingo Batoulis says:

    Politicians obsessed about the “message” they are sending in slackening their absurdist stance against cannabis ought to realise really what message they are sending to the overwhelming majority of Aussies who support medical cannabis, and that is: “Look, we are ignorant, self serving, and co-opted up to our eyeballs, and quite frankly we haven’t got the courage, the intelligence or the character to stand up and support a change to our ridiculous policy stance because we are politicians too concerned about the message we might be sending to all those who like us if we did.” What an outright corruption is this country’s politics right now!!

  8. Lu d'Angel says:

    Cannabis has been harvested for 10,000 years. There were no hardened criminals, drug lords or dazed and confused citizens roaming the streets looking for a ‘hit’!!

    The arguments that are constantly touted pail in significance compared to the havoc of alcohol abuse. Yet this is an industry that takes little responsibility for the outcome, with only the slogan ‘drink responsibly’. So if that’s all it takes to keep supplying a legal drug (which it is, just like tobacco), then how bout ‘toke responsibly’.

    On the medical side of things anything ingested in high proportions will have an after effect, as does multiple legal medicines.
    I have a rare pain syndrome and have to take chemicals prescribed by my doctor, which have reduced my ability permanently (whilst taking them) to think clearly. I know cannabis works, yet I cannot get it except by ‘stealth’, risking prosecution.
    Some serious ‘wake up and smell the resin’ rethinking needs to happen and soon.
    Do world governments realise the taxes they’re losing!!

  9. paul says:

    Actually Danny, whilst hemp oil is legal, human consumption is not. That is how backwards we are in this country.

  10. Mrbrunch says:

    Nevil schoenmakers working with them now
    So they got a knowledgable guy in

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