A VOCAL advocate for the legislation of medicinal cannabis and proprietor of Crescent Head's Mullaways Medical Cannabis, Anthony David Bower, was sentenced to 12 months jail on Thursday.
Mr Bower, 58, of Maria River Road, appeared in Port Macquarie Local Court before Magistrate Thomas Hodgson charged under the Drugs Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985, (23)(a), for the cultivation of a commercial quantity of cannabis at his Crescent Head property.
Magistrate Hodgson sentenced Mr Bower to 12 months jail with a non-parole period of nine months after which he would be placed on supervised parole.
Mr Bower has lodged an appeal over the severity of the sentence and will appear in Port Macquarie District Court on October 7. He was placed on unconditional bail until his appeal hearing.
The court heard that on April 6, police from the Mid North Coast Local Area Command were conducting helicopter cannabis eradication duties in the Hastings district in conjunction with Strike Force Hyperion.
At 12.45pm, officers on board the NSW Police helicopter flew over Mr Bower's property on Maria River Road where they identified a number of cannabis plants. The discovery was relayed to officers on the ground who subsequently attended the property and spoke to Mr Bower.
Through his business, Mullaways Medical Cannabis, Mr Bower claims to be "at the forefront of medical cannabinoid research and development" and has been leading a push for the legislation of medical marijuana. Mr Bower admitted to police that he was responsible for the 67 cannabis plants growing on his property. The plants, neatly potted in several rows, were located in a large enclosure adjacent to a bush humpy.
Police said the plants ranged in height from 10cms to one metre and all looked healthy and well-cared for. The larger plants were supported with wooden stakes and many of them were marked with specific numbers.
Mr Bower told police the numbered plants signified a "sick kid" for whom the cannabis was allegedly grown for. Mr Bower said he was extremely attentive to the health of his plants, many of which were heavily in bud. He proudly told police that he was "the best cannabis grower in Australia", but denied receving any payment for the distribution of the product.
Mr Bower, who admitted he smokes cannabis on a daily basis, has previously claimed in the media that Mullaways is the only company in the world producing liquid cannabis which gives users no "high" side effect. He said he delivers liquid cannabis from his property to more than 400 customers around Australia and claims the demand is growing.
Police seized 67 plants from the property with an estimated street value of $70,000. The plants were destroyed on April 11.