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Feds Move To Silence Robert Platshorn And Derail The Silver Tour

Robert Platshorn Silver Tour

image via: blacktunadiaries.com

Federal Officer Threatens To Return The Black Tuna To Prison

By Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town

Robert Platshorn became the longest serving marijuana prisoner in United States history, doing almost 30 years in federal prison for importing Colombian pot in the 1970s. When he got out four years ago, Platshorn — a weed warrior through and through — didn’t take the easy way out and opt for a quiet retirement. Instead, he took up the cause of medical marijuana, launching The Silver Tour to bring the good news about cannabis to senior citizens.

Platshorn did his time, and when he got out, he started trying to make the world a better place and to help sick people. Now, even though he’s been officially released from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Parole Commission, the federal government is trying to silence him, ordering travel restrictions — which would effectively end The Silver Tour — and forbidding him to associate with fellow Silver Tour director, federal medical marijuana patient Irvin Rosenfeld.

The Showtime movie Square Grouper featured Platshorn’s story; federal agents dubbed him the Black Tuna. But today, millions of senior citizens call him the Pied Piper of medical marijuana, and often refer to him as “the secret weapon for legalization.” Last year, after being released from parole, he joined with Rosenfeld to found The Silver Tour to teach seniors the benefits of medicinal cannabis.

After getting home from a book signing tour (he wrote an autobiography, Black Tuna Diaries) and an international medical cannabis conference hosted by Patients Out of Time and the University of Arizona, Platshorn got a surprise visit from a new parole officer. The stranger demanded a urine sample and made it clear to Robert and his wife that Platshorn could be returned to prison if he refused.

Platshorn has a document from the U.S. Parole Commission that clearly states “By this action you are no longer under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Parole Commission.” “Despite this, a new parole officer showed up at my door, demanded I take a urine test, and ordered me not to leave the district, cancel speaking and book signings, and ordered me not to associate with Irvin Rosenfeld,” Platshorn told Toke of the Town.

The officer, Scott T. Kirsche from the West Palm Beach Federal Parole office, claimed the visit was prompted by Platshorn’s recent appearance at the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Los Angeles, and his participation in the medical conference.

The outcome of the urine test was already predetermined. Robert had informed his old parole officer than he was a legally registered cancer patient being successfully treated with concentrated cannabis oil.

Urine test results normally take a week, but just 48 hours after testing, Bobby was ordered to report to the parole office and was put under tight supervision pending a decision by the Parole Commission in Washington, D.C., on whether to put Platshorn — who turns 70 this year — back in federal prison.

“Kirsche has written a report to the U.S. Parole Commission stating that I gave a UA dirty for THC (unconfirmed) followed by several clean UAs,” Platshorn told me. “More troubling, he reported that I have been traveling without permission. This is simply untrue.

“I requested that Kirsche contact my former P.O., Anthony Gagliardi, to confirm my sanctioned travel arrangements,” Platshorn said. “He simply refused to do so, even after my lawyer, Mike Minardi, made the same request.”

Platshorn’s original parole officer, Gagliardi, is unwell and is on indefinite leave. “He oversaw my travel arrangements and is the only one who can confirm I had permission for travel anywhere in the U.S., so long as he was notified,” Platshorn told me. “He never once provided written confirmation of permission for any specific trip.”

Robert, who after 30 years of incarceration, left prison penniless, supplements his $600 Social Security check by traveling to promote his memoir, Black Tuna Diaries, the documentary Square Grouper and speaking at major events. Kirsche ordered him to cancel his traveling for the immediate future.

“Thirty years in prison and this guy is trying to make brownie points going for the last drop of my blood, and at the same time he wants to be the government hero who ended The Silver Tour,” Platshorn told Toke of the Town. “This has already killed most of my income. Speaking and book signings at events are most of it.”

Wheelchair Police BrutalityIn particular, Platshorn was specifically told not to appear at an upcoming High Times medical event in San Francisco. Krsche ordered Robert to immediately stop treating his cancer with cannabis oil, and he was no longer to associate with federal patient and fellow Silver Tour board member Rosenfeld.

“The two June speaking gigs Kirsche ordered me to cancel represent about 80 percent of my income for June and July,” Platshorn told me. “As you know, Lynne is a semi-invalid. She is in physical therapy three days a week, needs several doctor visits (including heart, pulmonary, and cancer specialists) a week and her drug bill is no joke. By month’s end I won’t be able to cover he medical expenses.”

This could only put the brakes on The Silver Tour; it spells financial disaster for Platshorn and his wife Lynne, who is incapacitated by severe spinal injuries. Everyone who has read Black Tuna Diaries or seen Square Grouper knows the incredible love story between Robert and Lynne that began in high school and has lasted for more than 50 years through Bobby’s 30 years of prison.

Was this just the act of one over-ambitious parole officer, or the order of an overreaching bureaucrat? Would the federal government just like to put the Tuna back in the can, in order to end his advocacy for seniors?

“I’ve kept a lid on this stuff for the past five weeks,” Platshorn said. “It was bound to come out. Wall Street Journal and others have been calling for info for weeks. I never let it out, because I want to settle things quietly and move on. I’ve had four uneventful productive years. Each time I am forced to cancel an appearance, it raises more questions from the press and public.”

“Yesterday I was pulled in and interrogated by Kirsche and his boss, Mr. Smith,” Platshorn told Toke of the Town Friday morning. “They claimed that they were being harassed by my supporters and threatened consequences. Irv [Rosenfeld] was discussed. They tried to force me to tell them if I have a state medical card from a legal state.”

“Ordering me not to associate with Irv Rosenfeld, a fellow director of The Silver Tour, is totally without legal authority and a serious First Amendment rights violation,” Platshorn said.

Platshorn’s not going down without a fight.

“A complaint has been filed against the U.S. on Mr. Platshorn’s behalf,” attorney Michael C. Minardi, based in Stuart, Florida, told Toke of the Town Friday morning. “My only comment at this time, is that it is a travesty that Mr. Platshorn after spending 29 years in prison has to go through this.

“He has paid his debt to society and should be released from all further supervision,” Minardi told us. “They have not only effectively ceased operations of The Silver Tour, but they have violated Mr. Platshorn’s freedom of speech and right to associate by forbidding him to associate with a man the Federal Government gives Marijuana to every month.”

“I’ve worked my ass off for three years to get to this point,” Platshorn told me. “The front page of the Wall Street Journal was no accident or lucky break; neither was CNN and Newsweek. I know exactly what I’m doing.

“I’m not sitting home crying in my beer,” Platshorn said. “I’m pushing to finish The Silver Tour TV show. It’s almost done. The bad news: I’m about 5K short. I hired one of the top TV editor/producers. That took me over the planned budget, but the show has to be perfect. One network has tentatively approved it for airing, and two more keep asking to see the show. I need to finish it fast.”

“Although my P.O. has made live Silver Tour shows impossible four now, I am working full time to complete our TV show, Should Grandma Smoke Pot?,” Platshorn told me Friday morning.

“When I left the Federal Parole office yesterday, I spent the next eight hours on camera with our film crew,” Platshorn said. “The show is a shocker and will change millions of minds about cannabis and hemp.

“I honestly believe it will cause a public outcry that won’t stop until we see a quick end to cannabis prohibition,” Bobby told me. “More than ever, I need to raise more financial support to finish this project and arrange hundreds of airings on regional stations and national networks for the fall. One national network has accepted the show and loves it. Two other networks have asked to see the show and are excited about it in principle.”

Article From Toke of the Town and republished with special permission.


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  1. lethal drug warrior on

    JK, sorry/glad to be the one to have to tell you that respect is earned not given.

  2. how many pills did u friggen eat to end up on methadone i dont belive this bullshit

  3. America is a joke. All this drama around Bobby Pltahsoen, all thewhile, dispensing Ritalin to children, and Opiates to anyone that will take them, is Absurd!!!

    Shame on America. A nation of cowering idiots and fools who let ordinary assholes like Kirshe interefere with the agenda of Bobby Platshorn……which is primarily to allow marijuana to be used as a medicine.

    Bet money if they did a random drug screen of all Politicians in Washington DC, that 50% would be dirty. And the other 50% have Prescriptions….Yipee….which makes being a mindless Junkie perfectly legal.

    Americans stop worshipping Dickheads in fancy cars and suits, and stop voting people into power that make 100 times your Salary!!!

    And for Gods Sake leave Bobby Platshorn alone……….In any intelligent persons mind……it is easy to see…. here is a man Demonized who has never really hurt a soul in his life. Demonized by some worthless loser in a suit from OUR Government????

  4. Westcoastsun on

    Yet the Federal Government accuses China of human rights abuses; but this guy is treated worse in the U.S. by the U.S. Government. The Feds are a bunch of hypocrites.

  5. Dr. James Byers on

    What amazing BS from a probation officer! Never read the constitution huh? Time for a refresher course- maybe 9th grade civics-but that assumes you passed the grade.This kind of ignorance should not be tolerated in the US..the PO should lose his job if he has a personal vendetta against Platshorn Where do they find these ignorant bungholes? Dr. Jim Byers

  6. If anyone ever doubted the “War On Drugs” is really the War On Marijuana Consumers, this story should end all question.

    Help Colorado and Washington (maybe Oregon) pass their re-legalization initiatives in November. When just one state succeeds, the American Inquisition is over!

  7. There you go folks. Add stalking to the other scary qualities. To gain respect you must give respect. I hope some day you may start to treat others in a better manner.

  8. Mark edwards on

    The situation simply Angers me to the core. I say tear down the goverment and send the politicians that protect the American Cartels to a Consentration Camp.

  9. eating_sunshine on

    The world is full of lies and liars. Telling the truth to proven liars, when self-preservation is at stake, is a crime. Think about it and do the socially responsible thing next time.

  10. ABSOLUTELY APAULING i personaly have been strugling with the fact i graduated drug court in broome county ny an entire year ago and inbetween sentencing and the graduation which they waited a good 3-4 months to do i smoked marijuana i suffer from migraines and other symtoms due to an inoperable brain tumor that is thank God not cancer as well as ibs and fibro mialgia all of which are approved to be treated with marijuana but being as i have a drug history and that it is hard to even get a script in the form of marinol here i cannot have a medicine that will help me also recently have been put on methadone maintenence thanks to an addiction i acquired as a result of docs throwing opiates at things pot would easily be enough to treat and as a result of regulations i also would not be eligable for marijuana treatment because im not allowed on the methadone program. now to get back to the story i smoked pot to relieve symptoms of a migraine that would not go away and i told my probation officer and she asked if i was supposed to let the drug court judge know and i said no they never told me i had to they said i was done and just had to wait to be sentenced so she said ok then i wont make you tell the judge so i show up to my sentencing a few months later and my lawyer comes up to me and said hey did look this isnt looking good did you fail a drug test for pot and i didnt because i told her so i said no and realy didnt know what he ment and he showed me a letter from my po to the judge telling him about me smoking pot and the judge freaked on me said he thinks i broke my drug court contract which is bs cause my contract stated i was not allowed to get arrested on new charges b4 my sentencing not that i could not use drugs so they have postponed my srmtencing so i could go back to rehab which i did and then they want me to pay restitution but my contract stated they would vacate my charges soo they could not figure out how to do both and they came up with the idea i needed to pay it off b4 they would sentence me so now a year later i have paid it but it was a week later than they wanted so they think it means im gonna use drugs again and so i have to continue to be monitored and drug tested as if i was still on drug court and i cant argue with them because if they say i violated my contract even after three years of drug court i would have to do a 4-8 yr sentence as per my contract so i understand be=ing screwed with after having completed my debt and holding up my end just to get treated like im not because i have a medical issue and i smoked some pot from what i understand they even if he was on parole cannot make him stop taking the cannabis oils if they are recomended and prescribed by his physician even drug court had to let me have pain meds and anxiety pills that are controlled because they were deemed medicaly neccesary for me to function i do not get the system that makes it ok to take a medicine for pain that is physicaly addicting and not allow somebody to have pot which is not physicaly addicting not that i think opiates are wrong when needed but they are over prescribed when a less addictive alternative is available for the less severe pain i think this is wrong and will spread the word as far as i can on my facebook ty weedblog for giving me theese types of stories it helps me to feel informed and to inform others of theeses injustices.

  11. If he has the papers shpwong he is no longer on probation etc,was released etc then they can’t do one thing to him,he on the other hand can sue them for harrasment and probobly some other things and he should do so

  12. I’ll be sending a donation and picking up a copy of the book. So sorry to hear they are putting you through all this. You did your time and they need to get out of your life and stop harming you. My prayers go out to you that they stop the harassment.

    I was going to post this on TOTT but Steve Elliot has to be one of the most childish horrible individuals I have ever had the dishonor of running across. He does just as much harm as he does good by being a condescending jerk who insults everybody in nasty ways but then can’t take it back. What a small little man……

    Keep up the good work with the Weed Blog. Nice to see folks here know how to treat their traffic in a decent manner. Much kudos to you all!

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