Robert Platshorn, Who Served Almost 30 Years in Prison for Pot, Is Finally a Free Man

Categories: Marijuana

Photo courtesy of Robert Platshorn
The Black Tuna, Robert Platshorn (right), with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.
Robert Platshorn is getting high today. That is, he's going on an airplane. High Times called him up yesterday to say that he's being gifted free tickets to this weekend's Cannabis Cup in Seattle. The reason? After 28 years in prison and six years on probation for smuggling weed, the West Palm Beach resident is finally a free man.

The 71-year-old was part of the Black Tuna Gang -- a sophisticated drug ring that became the feds' first big bust in the War on Drugs. In the ensuing years, he's become a pot icon. Not only has he served the longest-ever sentence for a marijuana-related crime but he's become an outspoken advocate on the benefits of medical cannabis for seniors.

See also: Black Tuna Gang Leader Gets Out of Jail

Platshorn has been on parole since April Fool's Day of 2008 and never expected to be off it. He applied for release anyway about four-and-a-half months ago but says he never thought it would be granted.

"My lawyer would keep calling Congressman Deutch, but the answer would always be 'next week,'" he says. "The request would just lie on someone's desk."

He had another reason to be hopeless apart from governmental indifference. For a year, Platshorn had a parole officer who would let him travel to proselytize the healing powers of weed and use cannabis oil to treat his skin cancer. Then he got switched to the tyrannical Scott T. Kirsche, who was fond of subjecting him to random urine tests and had banned him from continuing his Silver Tour.

When the parolee got a call from Kirsche yesterday afternoon, he groaned.

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

Apparently, Platshorn's request had been granted on August 21. In a state of shock, he posted the announcement on social media. And rather than go out and celebrate, he sat replying to the hundreds upon hundreds of supporters who offered their congratulations.

So now that he's free, what does he think about having spent more than 30 years under the government's thumb for a plant that's almost certainly on the cusp of becoming federally legal? The gray-haired septuagenarian says he's just glad that his insane situation gave him a platform to preach.

"It makes me feel good knowing that other people won't have to go to prison like I did, and seniors with MS or Crohn's or glaucoma will be able to get a safe and effective medicine that doesn't cost them an arm and a leg and has absolutely no known side effects."

Newly energized, he plans to embark on a campaign to get the senior vote out in favor of Amendment 2. But first, he plans to enjoy the hell out of Cannabis Cup.

"I don't wanna look back and be miserable now that things are getting so much better," he says. "You have no idea how good it feels to be free for the first time since September 1978."

Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti

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Robert Platshorn is a bonafide hero in this struggle. Nobody has done more to educate seniors in Florida - or anywhere - than him, and they are exactly who needs this plant the most and are, unfortunately, the hardest demographic to reach.

He tells them the truth and it's no mean feat to get that information across thanks to decades of lies from our government about this plant. The older generation grew up when government was much more honest and trustworthy - or at least when people didn't have as much evidence of the government's duplicity as we do today - and the idea that the same "honest" government they believe in would lie so completely to them for years is a very tough sell. 

Robert is in that age group and has the knowledge and energy and drive to make the real facts known, now that the feds have released him from under their thumbs. He did decades for a non-violent cannabis infraction yet they still kept him on probation (and illegally restricted his freedom of speech) for 8 more years. That should tell you how scared the feds are of his ability to spread the truth to this massive, politically powerful demographic.

Hats off Robert Platshorn - your efforts have and will continue to save lives. His book is a great read too - "The Black Tuna Diaries"


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That is awesome news and gives me hope! I just did 12 consecutive years in prison for possessing three (3) oz of marijuana and smoking it with others. Been on parole for two and half years and counting, because I use it to treat an injury, I received in the military. I will fight the System until death on this issue!

hempstaff topcommenter

Congrats Robert!

YES on #2 everyone!


the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy...#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed

"any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

20 years behind us southern states and NEW YORK (CBD = Can't Be Done), sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
Deaths by Tobacco: Millions

Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade

Deaths by Guns: Millions

Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions

Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever...they are killing my American family while denying freedom

love and freedom forever


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