Marijuana Activist Robert Platshorn Is Free From The Man

Robert Platshorn, a 71-year-old pot activist who served the longest prison sentence for marijuana trafficking, can finally spark up again. Yesterday, Platshorn announced on his Facebook page that Uncle Sam was finally cutting him loose. The feds released him from parole six years after Platshorn walked out of a federal pen. He spent 28 years locked up for his leading role in the Black Tuna Gang, a marijuana smuggling ring that moved more 500 tons of pot into the U.S. in the Seventies.

Platshorn founded the Silver Tour, a traveling educational seminar for senior citizens to learn the healing benefits of weed. He’s also produced an infomercial-style television show, “Should Grandma Smoke Pot?”, to spread his message.

Since February, Platshorn has been planning a senior citizen get-out-the vote effort for a constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana in Florida, his home state. The West Palm Beach resident is also organizing seminars featuring some of the top cannabis industry leaders for people who want to break into the medical marijuana field should voters approve the amendment.

“I am a free man for the first time since Sept. 10, 1979,” Platshorn said on his Facebook page. “I’ll be accepting speaking invitations and doing Silver Tour shows once again everywhere.”

His parole release turned out to be serendipitous. High Times magazine gifted him free tickets to attend this weekend’s Cannabis Cup in Seattle, Wa., one of two states that legalized marijuana for recreational use. He’ll also be part of a Meet and Greet event at the pot connoisseur fest. The ex-pot smuggler credits High Times with being his biggest supporter.

“Forty years ago, when the Black Tunas began bringing America the Santa Marta Gold that became the mother strain for so many of today’s top medical and recreational hybrids, it was High Times we turned to for advice and price,” Platshorn recently revealed on his Facebook page. “From the day we were busted through my thirty years in prison, it was High Times that kept our story and hope of release alive.”

More importantly, Platshorn gets to take his advocacy back on the road, across America. About a year after his prison release, he had to stop touring after he got a new parole officer who subjected him to random urine tests and would not allow him to travel out-of-state. He told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times that he was expecting more of the same harassment when the parole officer called him with the good news.

“I thought it meant trouble, since he’s never brought good news,” Platshorn said. “As soon as I heard his name, I assumed it was a urine test. But no.”

His request for parole release, submitted four-and-a-half months ago, had been approved. He can now take the Silver Tour anywhere that will let him preach.


Virginia Cops Raid Saddest Looking Marijuana Grow House

Roger Lee Sparks Jr.

Roger Lee Sparks Jr.

Judging from the photographs provided by deputies in Tazwell County, Va., Roger Lee Sparks operated the saddest looking marijuana grow house ever. The cops claim the 38-year-old Richlands resident had 115 plants with a street value of $350,000. That is a generous estimate considering the images show the plants had still in a vegetative state.

They were probably several months from producing a harvest and judging from the picture showing two jars filled with brownish, schwag weed, Sparks was better off not having a grow house.

Sparks didn’t help himself by being a convicted felon in possession of two rifles and a shotgun. Deputies charged him with manufacturing marijuana, possession of a firearm with more than a pound of marijuana, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of ammunition by a felon, and possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or distribute.

Sparks has previously been charged with Robbery, Manufacture of Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana, and Distribution of Marijuana. Currently he is being held with No Bond at the Southwest Regional Jail Authority in Tazewell.

Deputies were anonymously tipped off to Sparks’ marijuana grow house and obtained search warrant for his home.

Deputy poses with his paltry marijuana bounty.

Deputy poses with his paltry marijuana bounty.


Federal Government Increasing Its Marijuana Research

Feds up marijuana production for medical research.

Feds up marijuana production for medical research.

Did you know the U.S. federal government grows its own marijuana? And did you know Uncle Sam is increasing its crop production? It’s all in the name of marijuana research, of course.

According to the Huffington Post, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which oversees the federal government’s marijuana growing operation, is upping production because it expects higher demand from researchers for cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that has shown tremendous promise for medical use.

Congress is currently considering a bipartisan bill calling for the legalization of CBD strains. Moreover, 11 states have legalized CBD for limited medical use or research.

“We are targeting concentrations that are low in CBD, equal concentrations 50/50 CBD/THC, and high CBD,” NIDA told the HuffPo. “We will know the final THC/CBD concentrations once the marijuana is harvested this fall and analyzed.”

So how much more weed are the feds growing for marijuana research? More than 1,000 pounds or about the average payload intercepted by border patrol agents along the Mexican border. Even more mind-boggling is that the Drug Enforcement Administration signed off on NIDA’s request to grow more pot.

“The projection of increased demand is due in part to the recent increased interest in the possible therapeutic uses of marijuana,” according to NIDA.

More from HuffPo:

NIDA added that it has marijuana of “various THC content already in its inventory,” but that if current or upcoming marijuana research needs cannabis with custom levels of THC and CBD, and those strains are not already available, they would need to be grown. Because marijuana takes some time to grow and cultivate, NIDA says it “has to predict future research interest so that a customized order is ready once a researcher has obtained all the proper approvals” from all the federal agencies involved.

Strains of marijuana high in CBD and low in THC, commonly known as “Charlotte’s Web,” are being used to treat epilepsy in children. The strain is also showing success in reducing inflammation brought on by multiple sclerosis, new research shows, as well as stopping metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, killing cancerous cells found in people with leukemia and serving as an alternative antipsychotic treatment.

The NIDA is also looking for pot growers. Time reports that the agency intends to solicit proposals from people who can “harvest, process, analyze, store and distribute” cannabis. A successful bidder must possess a “secure and video monitored outdoor facility” capable of growing and processing 12 acres of marijuana, a 1,000-sq.-ft. (minimum) greenhouse to test the plants under controlled conditions, and “demonstrate the availability” of a vault approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration to maintain between 400 and 700 kg of pot stock, extract and cigarettes.

NIDA would award the winner a one-year contract with four one-year renew options.

Jesus Ramos Perez

Florida Deputies Discover Marijuana Barn

Cops found 155 marijuana plants inside a barn in Fort Meyers.

Cops found 155 marijuana plants inside a barn in Fort Meyers.

There were no hay bundles in this barn. Late last week, narcotics detectives from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office descended on a rural residence in Ft. Meyers, Fl., after receiving an anonymous tip that it was being used to grow marijuana.

Over the past seven years, indoor marijuana growers in Florida often rent or buy homes in rural counties to better conceal their illegal activities. According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, this was the second large-scale marijuana grow operation discovered within two weeks as a result of a reliable anonymous tip.

According to a police spokesman, the farm was complete with livestock in a fenced in compound. Detectives set up surveillance on the resident, 46-year-old Jesus Ramos Perez, following him as he left the house. Officers stopped him on Interstate 95 for a K-9 check. The police dog alerted his handler to a sawed-off shotgun, which can only be owned with a special federal gun license, hidden inside a pile of clothing within reach of the driver. The cops arrested Perez and and obtained a search warrant for his home.

Jesus Ramos Perez

Jesus Ramos Perez

Inside the barn, the narcotics unit discovered 155 mature marijuana plants and an elaborate grow system. The Lee County Sherriff’s Office said the planted weighed more than 320 pounds and were in the advanced stages of budding. The marijuana had a street value of $450,000.

Ramos Perez was charged with trafficking in marijuana, cultivation of marijuana, owning a structure used to traffic narcotics, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, and carrying a concealed firearm. Ramos Perez is currently being held within the Lee County Jail.

Quadcopter drones are becoming fashionable prison smuggling tools.

Drone Carrying Marijuana Into Prison Goes Haywire

Quadcopter drones are becoming fashionable prison smuggling tools.

Quadcopter drones are becoming fashionable prison smuggling tools.

Using a drone to smuggle contraband into prisons is becoming more popular among criminals. But they aren’t having much success. Case in point:

Police in Bishopville, South Carolina, are on the hunt for a man who allegedly used a drone to deliver marijuana and other contraband into a state prison. Law enforcement officials released convenience store surveillance video images showing the man they are looking for, hoping someone turns him in. They are offering $1,000 for information that leads to his arrest.

The cops already caught his alleged cohort, 28-year-old Brenton Lee Doyle, who appeared in court Wednesday for the first time on charges of attempting to smuggle contraband into a prison and possession of the drug flunitrazepam, also known as “roofies,” according to Reuters.

Doyle and his accomplice piloted a drone that crashed outside the Lee Correctional Institution back in April. The remote controlled aircraft never made it over the 12-foot fence, although according to the Associated Press, “officials aren’t sure exactly where the drone would have gone if it made it over the wall.”

Drone smuggling suspect

Drone smuggling suspect

The drone was carrying marijuana, cellphones and tobacco, according to Stephanie Givens, a spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Corrections.

Contraband delivery service providers have not had much luck using drones. In June, a quadcopter crashed landed into an exercise yard in Wheatfield Prison in west Dublin, Ireland. An inmate managed to pull the drugs off the contraband drone before prison officers could retrieve it.

A digital memory card onboard the mini-helicopter recorded the exact route the device took and also shows the smugglers carried out a trial run before the failed attempt. In November 2013, four people were arrested for trying to deliver a bunch of tobacco into the state prison in Calhoun, Georgia, via a remote-controlled hexacopter.

seattle police

Seattle Cop Responsible for 80 Percent of Marijuana Citations

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole reassigned cop who issued 80 percent of city's marijuana citations.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole reassigned cop who issued 80 percent of city’s marijuana citations.

Seattle cop Randy Jokela sure is consistent. Perhaps a little too consistent for his own good. Several local media outlets, including the Seattle Times, identified him as the officer who dished out 80 percent of all marijuana related citations in the Emerald City during the first six months of 2014. Marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use in Washington, but law enforcement officials can hand out tickets for public pot consumption.

In the days before Washington legalized marijuana, Jokela would have probably won a commendation or two. Instead, he’s in the dog house. Seattle Police Department Chief Kathleen O’Toole (who hasn’t confirmed the officer’s identity) reassigned Jokela to desk duty pending an administrative investigation into his pot citation frenzy. The veteran (known as “Joker” on the streets) had been assigned to the West Precinct Bike Unit. A biannual review of Seattle Police’s marijuana enforcement efforts revealed the officer issued 63 out of 83 tickets, and that he often attached notes to them expressing his disgust for the state’s lenient marijuana laws.

In one ticket, the Seattle officer wrote that he found two people smoking marijuana and made them flip a coin to decide which toker would get cited. “Suspect lost the coin flip so he got the ticket while the other person walked,” the ticket reads. “Suspect was allowed to keep his pipe.”

Seatttle Marijuana Citations

One of the marijuana tickets written by Seattle cop who dislikes potheads.

He also appeared to hold a grudge against Seattle City Attorney and legalization proponent Pete Holmes,  who was caught sneaking in some sweet buds into city hall. Jokela refers to his fellow civil servant as “Petey Holmes” on numerous citations.

The biannual marijuana enforcement report also found some disturbing trends. About 36 percent of those cited were African Americans, who represent just eight percent of Seattle’s population according to the 2010 census. Homeless people accounted for 46 percent of people who received marijuana tickets.



Marijuana Grow Operation In Texas Worth $175 Million

polk-county-inmatesAt a massive marijuana grow operation in Goodrich, Texas, law enforcement officials found more pot plants than they could handle. So they brought in Polk County jail inmates to help pull out the weed. Wearing iconic black and white striped jail suits, the prisoners assisted 70 officers from 12 agencies with the removal efforts. So far, more than 44,000 plants have been uprooted.

An aerial search revealed an additional 15 more fields. The total take could be more than 100,000 plants with an estimated value of $175 million, possibly the largest marijuana bust in Texas history. It’s definitely the largest marijuana bust in the history of Goodrich, a small town 70 miles north of Houston and a population of 271 people.

When officers arrived on the scene, they found thousands of marijuana plants being fed from a sophisticated irrigation system with water being pumped from a nearby stream. A makeshift campground with food and equipment was in the area. So far, one person has been taken into custody, and police are looking for additional suspects.

The dense foliage allowed the growers to set up shop without being detected for quite some time. “These guys are building trenches, pumps, set up irrigation systems,” said Polk County Chief Deputy Byron Lyons.”They’ve got their own little camps, tents, tent cities. It’s a pretty elaborate set up.”

Chief Lyons told reporters the operation involved several individuals based on what officers found on the secluded property. He said the marijuana farmers had to take the Trinity River and then the Long King Creek to get to the site. Lyons also claimed someone else would bring the workers food on a daily basis. However, he did not explain how he knew the details of the operation.

Town resident Lance Sarver told USA Today that he’s only seen marijuana grow operations on television. “I’ve watched that uh the California grow people where they use the river to feed water to the plants,” he told the paper. “You figure you could smell it cuz it has its own smell.”

Officials brought in bulldozer that is making temporary roads to help clear out the marijuana. Helicopters will be used to airlift some plants off the land because officials can’t get to them by automobile. Lyons says the removal operation is expected to be complete by Tuesday and officers are guarding the property overnight.