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Defamation of HH by the media

Defamation of HH by the media
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 13:31

We are being slandered by the media in relation to the tragic death of Sydney teenager Henry Kwan. He was supplied with "synthetic LSD" that was purchased over the internet, which police said sent him into a psychosis and led to him leaping to his death from a balcony.

Happy Herbs does not, nor have we ever, sold the dangerous substance involved in his death – despite what recent media reports would have you believe. Our goal is harm minimisation through providing safe and legal alternatives to uncontrolled illegal drugs, along with a wide range of natural health products.

We are seeking positive approaches to people's relationship to drugs, which should be treated as a public health issue. The Happy Herb Company supports the current ban of dangerous substances such as 'bath salts', though with regard to long-term policy we advocate for a regulatory framework rather than prohibition.


Basically this is the story:

  • This event has been widely covered in many newspapers and TV news programs. 
  • They have generally covered this alongside the story of interim bans on synthetic drugs in NSW.
  • Although none of them have actually named our shops or company in their reports, many of them have displayed archive photos of our exclusive herbal products and footage of our shopfronts.
  • As you can imagine this is extremely damaging to the reputation of our wonderful shops, and the ongoing misrepresentation and persecution of our company by the media has caused our staff and their families much anguish and suffering. 


We have spent 20 years building public good will, and these journalists who are too lazy to investigate their facts properly can wreck it all with a 20 second video. We are an easy target and have been used as a lightning rod for criticism of the synthetic drug issue. This is despite the strict voluntary Duty of Care policy that all of our shops are required to enact towards our customers, while sex shops, tobacconists and online retailers have long been indiscriminately selling a range of dangerous products to customers regardless of age, experience, or physical and mental health conditions.

We will not take this defamation and injurious falsehood lying down - we are preparing legal action against all media outlets that have portrayed our proprietary products or our branding/shopfronts in stories relating to this incident. Some of the products shown are TGA approved, and we are also seeing the repeated use of photos from a raid last year in Queensland where the products in question were tested, found to be herbal, and returned for sale.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers for their ongoing support during this difficult time. We'll keep our heads up and our hearts strong, and will prevail again and again! 


NOTE: We want to clarify the following to our valued friends, supporters and customers: 

Happy Herb Shops have never sold the 'synthetic LSD' that has been mentioned in recent media reports, nor do we sell any of the 19 synthetic products recently banned under Fair Trading laws in NSW and SA. 

In the interest of harm reduction, and due to customer demand, we have offered a small range of less-strong legal synthetic substances for sale as a legal alternative to cannabis to adults through some of our shops. Any products we sell that are not 100% herbal are tested for suitable strength and mild effect, and sold responsibly with a strict Duty of Care towards our customers. We have a voluntary policy of not selling any of these products online, where we would be unable to individually assess the customer's age, sensitivity, and physical/mental health.


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Submitted by Don (not verified) on

Met Sarah today at Haight location....amazing insight. Certainly someone who follows Duty of Care you mentioned and made first experience an excellent one. My $25 visit turned into a $100+ visit and I have NO remorse...excellent employee, person, and warrior for this movement.

I'll be back many more times.

Submitted by Christopher McEntee (not verified) on

You have been done wrong by. I first discovered HHH in Darwin. The most beautiful people work at your shops and I've always had a learning experience every time I wen, always promoting positive attitudes towards herbs and life. I hope all works out good for you and I wish more people would be more open minded.
Thank you

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I work in a gorgeous Happy Herb Shop. Keep up the fight Ray. We all know what we sell is herbal and what we stand for. You have all of my support. Much love xx

Submitted by cigarbabe (not verified) on

When will the media stop lying and simply tell the truth? This has gone on in every damned country and frankly I am so sick of them never researching facts or information brought to them. You'd think they would do that routinely considering they can be held liable for posting lies about a company. I hope HH will sue the bastards to clear your good name.
Shame on the media!

Submitted by Andrew Onto (Tree) (not verified) on

If anyone else decides to persecute Happy Herbs on false pretence they deserve the full brunt of the law. Legal action needs to be launched for those media outlets foolish enough to slander happy herbs reputation. Go for it Ray stand strong, stand tall and let people know you are no push over.

Submitted by mark jago (not verified) on

the hypocrisy of this attack is staggering, a quick search online will show you how many Millions of people have been killed by Big Pharma since they pitched tents a 100 years ago selling their snake oil to a naive public, try Vioxx on for starters 28,000 dead from consuming this poison in 5 years all of them administered by doctors and the only penalty a slap on the wrist and and some small change out of the cookie jar for the criminals who knew it's dangers BEFORE putting it on the market !!! do we see these bastards in the media jumping up & down at the dozens dying every day all over the country from over the counter quack potions recommended by the medical profession ? no of course not follow the money, this attack is obviously pre meditated and planned, to discredit anyone dealing in natural remedies and products, Codex Allumentarius comes to mind strap in, the ride is about to get bumpy, the first casualty of war is truth and you my friend are experiencing the first salvo's may the gods be with you.

Submitted by Anita (not verified) on

It is disgraceful to see the level the media will stoop to, just to get a "good" story and to create hysteria, fear and anxiety amongst citizens. Not only are they creating unnecessary harm but they are also creating false allegations against a company which is actually doing good rather than harm. It's shear hypocracy. HH has been one of the few companies out there which promotes a healthy lifestyle and a healthy, positive attitude to the benefits of herbal alternatives. As you say Ray, "seeking positive approaches to people's relationships to drugs" should definitely be treated as a public health issue and governments have failed to do this for their citizens because they are all too often taking bribes from the big pharmaceuticals. The media is only playing along in their game. I hope you get the side of justice to back you up, and I hope you win this battle.

Submitted by Dave Cannabis (not verified) on

its just another example of lazy journalists, like whenever theres a big drug bust for amphetamines or heroin they always have a graphic with a cannabis leaf
GO GET em Ray power to you you are in the right

Submitted by Jamie (not verified) on

The media is the most untruthful and unreliable source of facts and information there is today in our society, they slap rumors, allegations and flat out lies together to make some quick money not caring who gets hurt or what effects there misleading information has on a national scale bout time someone stood there ground and fought for what is right and just yous have my support keep up the good work :)

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