MIAMI, FL - A South Florida man is setting out to promote the use of medical marijuana.
Billboards are popping up along Sample Road in Broward County that are targeting senior citizens.
The more ornate billboard says, 'Legalize Medical Marijuana. I'm a patient not a criminal' and another depicts an elderly person in a wheelchair.
Down the road, another billboard reads 'Reschedule Medical Marijuana, one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." CBS4's Cynthia Demos spoke with folks who drove by the billboard.
"For my family I don't like it," said Roseanne Alves.
"Marijuana is a gateway drug," said Zed Castro.
The billboards are the work of 69-year-old Robert Platshorn.
Platshorm said he spent 30 years in prison for smuggling marijuana, a substance he says can help people and shouldn't be illegal. He doesn't want others sent to prison for what he calls, 'not committing a crime', so he is trying to make it legal.
"The billboard is a way to bring attention to the cause," Platshorn said. In the four years he's been out of prison he started his cause, "The Silver Tour" to promote the legalization of marijuana for seniors.
"They have the time, the inclination and the need," he said.
Irvin Rosenfels, 59, is one of Platshorn's biggest supporters.
By Steve Elliott, Toke of the Town
Photo by Lance Draizin
We've pointed out before that one Florida man -- legendary former pitchman and marijuana smuggler Robert Platshorn -- may hold the key to cannabis legalization in the United States. The reason we say that is that skilled pitchman Platshorn has proven he can sway senior audiences to support medical marijuana, and most of us are aware, seniors vote in heavier numbers than any other age group.
Platshorn, through the Silver Tour, brings the truth about marijuana to senior citizens in Florida and nationwide, and one of the biggest events yet on that tour will take place on January 29 in Boyton Beach, Fla.
The show, "Learn the Real Facts About Medical Marijuana," will be free and all ages are welcome. It will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, January 29, at the Temple Shaarei Shalom in Boynton Beach.
Besides Platshorn -- the author of Black Tuna Diaries and director of NORML of Florida, who is featured in the hit film, Square Grouper -- the film Cannabis Science, which features Dr. Donald Abrams, Dr. Robert Melamede, and Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, among other medical marijuana experts, will also be screened.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- I sat there thinking, "Am I about to break the law?"
The thought crossed my mind as I watched Irvin Rosenfeld light up a joint and smoke it right in front of me.
The truth is, he's allowed to smoke marijuana. I'm not. The difference between you and I and Irv Rosenfeld is about 40 years of battling bone cancer and a major legal victory that he won against the federal government. He convinced the feds that he needed pot to live, that it helped him cure his cancer, that it wasn’t marijuana.
That it was medicine.
So, since 1982, Uncle Sam has been sending Rosenfeld a tin can stuffed with joints. He picks it up at the pharmacy every month.
Irvin Rosenfeld's story starts off our look at a growing fight to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. It’s a fight that’s gaining ground in South Florida, and the people who are pushing it say senior citizens may be the key to getting a new law passed.
Robert Platshorn is pot's biggest pitchman. He preaches the gospel of pot to seniors. He started the "Silver Tour." It's a traveling bus show that visits retirement communities in South Florida.
"All they knew was a free show and a free buffet, and then they said, 'Marijuana?'" Platshorn said. "'Marijuana? Did you bring any samples?'"
By Steve Elliott Toke of the Town/Special to The Silver Tour
What if I told you there is a secret weapon that, if understood and utilized by the cannabis reform community, could fairly quickly and very decisively decide the issue of marijuana legalization once and for all?
Everybody knows that cannabis legalization is very, very near the tipping point in the United States. Even the folks at Gallup, not exactly known for wild-eyed political statements, said this month after examining their latest poll results -- which showed that a record-high 50 percent of Americans support legalization -- that "If this current trend on legalizing marijuana continues, pressure may build to bring the nation's laws into compliance with the people's wishes."
Drilling down into the results of that same Gallup poll reveals our potential secret weapon for marijuana legalization.
Support for legalizing cannabis is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62 percent approval among those 18 to 29, down to only 31 percent among those 65 and older.
By Steve Elliott, Toke of the Town/Special to The Silver Tour
Almost every time a poll is taken on public levels of support for medical marijuana, one of the groups most resistant to the idea is one that stands to gain the most from it: senior citizens. If we, as a community, can find a way to educate seniors on the health benefits and palliative qualities of medicinal cannabis, it will be a huge step towards achieving the numbers it will take to legalize medical marijuana on the federal level. Seniors are known as the most powerful voting bloc in the nation, and they always show up at the polls.
That's where the legendary Robert Platshorn, the Black Tuna himself, comes in. Platshorn -- who started as a pitchman, became one of the biggest marijuana smugglers of the 1970s, and then spent almost 30 years in federal prison -- has taken on the job of informing his fellow senior citizens about the health benefits of cannabis.
The Silver Tour is the only organization reaching out to seniors about medical marijuana, according to Platshorn, and its work consists of informing them on ways to organize, petition and contact their local politicians to demand legal, safe access to medicinal cannabis.
Pitchman, businessman, and world traveler, Robert Platshorn, aka Bobby Tuna, has also served more federal time than any other non-violent marijuana inmate, having spent 28 years in federal prison. Platshorn has compiled his memoirs into his book, The Black Tuna Diaries, in which he tells his life story intermingled with his story of smuggling marijuana.
The book itself reads more like an adventure story than a collection of memoirs. Readers must remember that this is a true story, and not a fictitious compilation about bringing Columbia’s ‘Santa Maria Gold’ marijuana to America.
Woven through the smuggling tale is the story of Platshorn’s life as a boy in Philadelphia, growing up with the South Street Gang, on to the pitches on the boardwalk of Atlantic City, and the energy that pulsed through his life and propelled him in many business endeavors in the United States and abroad, legally and illegally.