Robert Platshorn spent 30 years in prison for marijuana, becoming the longest-serving pot prisoner in United States history, but today he can’t get 30 minutes on an Orlando, Florida television station to air Should Grandma Smoke Pot?, his infomercial about the benefits of medicinal cannabis.
Platshorn was willing to pay for the air time, but the station decided it didn’t want his money, reports Jason Parsley at South Florida Gay News.
“I apologize greatly for this but the station has had some changes and they no longer will accept the content of your show,” said Rachel Weaver, an account executive with CoxReps, which owns WKCF in Orlando. “I need to cancel your order. I am really sorry for any inconvenience.”
“This is ludicrous,” Platshorn said. “This film has played from Texas to Tallahassee, simply arguing that cannabis is more curative than it is criminal, and can be used to help senior citizens with multiple ailments. I have been on national TV with it, and it is popular on YouTube and hundreds of social media sites.”
But Weaver, with the TV station, was having none of that. “There is too much controversy in politics in Florida right now with it,” she said.
Well, gosh almighty. Rachel. Heaven forbid a TV station should cover any actual news or controversial topics of any kind!
Should Grandma Smoke Pot? is an educational and informative 30-minute presentation featuring cannabis experts and advocates discussing the medicinal benefits of marijuana. The film was directed and produced by Platshorn and his associates.
Platshorn, now 70, is featured in the Showtime movie Square Grouper, which chronicles his life as a 1970s South Florida pot smuggler. He now conducts seminars through www.thesilvertour.org to educate senior citizens about medical marijuana.He’s also written an autobiography, Black Tuna Diaries, which tells the story not only of his smuggling days but his entire life, including how he became one of the most famous pitchmen in the business.
“For a television station to censor a pro pot message because it’s ‘controversial’ is abhorrent and preposterous,” said Norm Kent, publisher of South Florida Gay News, who is also a prominent First Amendment attorney who has in the past represented Platshorn.
“As the publisher of a newspaper I can’t imagine ever doing such a thing,” said Kent, who is the newly elected chair of the board of directors at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
“The foolish decision makers at that TV station are a few croutons short of a salad,” Kent said. “They are denying the public an opportunity to have an informed debate and serious discussion about a matter of social policy, one that is supporting decriminalization of cannabis in city after city and state after state, from coast to coast.”