Bikie-turned-podcaster’s medicinal cannabis business under investigation


A medicinal cannabis business run by a convicted drug importer and ex-bikie is being investigated by the national drugs regulator for allegedly selling CBD oil illegally.

Former Bandidos sergeant-at-arms Brent Simpson, 44, pleaded guilty in 2010 to importing a commercial quantity of a controlled precursor and was sentenced by the NSW District Court to six years’ jail.

In 2019, he was handed a three-year suspended sentence by a Gold Coast court for drug supply.

Mr Simpson now runs the popular podcast The Clink, for which he has interviewed infamous criminals — including Schapelle Corby’s half-brother James Kisina and Silverwater prison escapee John Killick — on the topic of redemption.

But since May he has been promoting Releaf Therapies CBD (cannabidiol) oil on his podcast’s Instagram page.

Heavy Hiterz founder Brent Allchorn-Simpson and his bicycleHeavy Hiterz founder Brent Allchorn-Simpson and his bicycle
Brent Simpson in 2016 preparing to ride to Perth for the charity Heavy Hiterz.(

Supplied: Heavy Hiterz


The Releaf Therapies business page also features a video of Mr Simpson approaching a man at Burleigh Heads and asking him if he would use the “CBD product”, which retails for up to $290 for 30 millilitres.

In the video, Mr Simpson asks: “… do you think it’s a good idea that they legalise CBD?”

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) records show Mr Simpson — who is also known as Brent Allchorn — is one of two registered partners behind the business.

The Releaf Therapies website describes the product as “hemp oil”, but images of the product tout it as “CBD oil”.

In Australia, medicinal cannabis products are prescription-only medicines.

An image of an instagram post with a small bottle of oilAn image of an instagram post with a small bottle of oil
A screenshot of The Clink podcast’s Instagram page promoting Releaf Therapies.(



Peak body assessing complaint

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which regulates the supply and advertising of medicinal cannabis, told the ABC it was assessing a complaint about Releaf Therapies.

The assessment will consider whether the product is compliant with regulations.

When contacted by the ABC, Mr Simpson denied any allegations he or the business Releaf Therapies were not abiding by the law and said he would be “grateful for the publicity” of his product.

He claimed “the TGA have approved the topical use of CBD”.

“The product there is for topical use only. Whatever you do with it is your choice,” he said.

A man stands in a gym holding a ball.A man stands in a gym holding a ball.
Brent Simpson has been promoting the use of CBD oil on Instagram.(



In response to the complaint, Mr Simpson said: “I couldn’t care less, we’re doing everything by the guidelines.”

The TGA, however, told the ABC all products containing CBD were required to be included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) before they could be legally supplied in Australia. 

It said it had not approved any low-dose CBD products, including those for topical use, in Australia.

A TGA spokeswoman said the only CBD product approved for supply in Australia was Epidyolex, which was available by prescription only and was for use in the treatment of seizures associated with rare epilepsies.

Social media war of words

In early June, Mr Simpson came under fire from medicinal cannabis campaigner Tegan Scates, who criticised “Instagram influencers pushing unregulated products”.

The Queensland woman, who works in cannabis marketing and runs the educational page High On Hemp, said CBD oil could have adverse reactions with other prescription medications.

Her critique followed promotions of Releaf Therapies by social media stars Angry Dad and Gold Coaster Mitchell Orvall, who together have more than 450,000 followers.

Mr Simpson later slammed Ms Scates as a “joke” and an “internet bully”, before posting a defaced image of her to social media.

A woman sits on a white loungeA woman sits on a white lounge
Tegan Scates says influencers with no medical knowledge should not be promoting CBD products.(



Messages between the The Clink podcast’s Instagram page and Ms Scates show the profile further claiming Releaf Therapies oils were “TGA approved”.

One message from The Clink’s profile read:

“Whatever your (sic) trying to achieve by attacking Releaf will not work, and if you do continue than (sic) other avenues will be explored.”

A TGA spokesman told the ABC that it did not “disclose the names of the individuals or companies that hold licences” for CBD oil.

The Office of Drug Control does list some companies licensed in Australia to manufacture, import and supply medicinal cannabis with its consent.

Two men stand wearing The Clink t-shirtsTwo men stand wearing The Clink t-shirts
Brent Simpson with Russell Manser, who was featured on The Clink podcast last year. (



Releaf Therapies is not on the register.

“We are strictly only offering a product for topical use and it’s as simple as that,” Mr Simpson said.

“How people chose to interpret that or use that is their own interpretation.”

Influencers promoting products 

Ms Scates said Instagram influencers were increasingly promoting therapeutic drugs online.

“… they’re not doing this because they’re taking these products or because they’re using them on a daily basis … they’re promoting them to essentially receive a commission from these brands,” she said of the wider problem.

Ms Scates said people seeking medicinal cannabis had often been “gaslit by the medical community”.

“When influencers are pushing out that this is a new miracle oil that is going to change their life, think about how that actually affects the person on the other end listening to that.”

Janet Schloss, a clinical research fellow at Southern Cross University’s National Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, said it was “completely illegal” to buy medicinal cannabis in Australia without going through a pharmacy.

She said the “black market” for the medicinal drug was compromising the progress of the legal industry.

Janet SchlossJanet Schloss
Janet Schloss says people illegally selling CBD oil are often coming from a good place.(



“Some of them actually come from a really good place. They want to help people. I totally understand that,” she said.

“However, we want to have this properly regulated and, in doing so, this will also bring down a lot of the cost, but it also brings the safety of the people who are actually receiving it.”

Approved legal pathways

Bond University associate law professor Wendy Bonython said there were only two ways to obtain therapeutic cannabis in Australia.

“The first of those is through an approved prescriber pathway, where specific doctors are able to prescribe cannabis products to their patients,” Ms Bonython said.

“An alternative is more on a case-by-case basis, where doctors can access special approval processes enabling them to prescribe cannabis oil for specific patients.”

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said consumption of cannabis that had not been legally obtained fell under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 and “should be referred to Queensland Police Service (QPS)”.

A QPS spokeswoman said officers might take necessary action “if there is suspicion of illicit activity involving dangerous drugs”.

“Police will always consider the circumstances of each situation,” the spokeswoman said.


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