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.