When pot-progressive California added legalization to the ballot in 2010, voters didn’t let it pass. Whispers arose that seniors were the ones who killed Proposition 19, and in South Florida, a medical marijuana advocacy group is making sure there won’t be a repeat.
The Silver Tour, led by 69-year-old Robert Platshorn, aims to educate South Florida’s seniors about medical marijuana and its benefits for ailing seniors.
"Seniors are an active political force," Platshorn told the Sun Sentinel. "Seniors vote, seniors have time to contact their representatives."
Platshorn was the operator of the notorious 1970s Miami marijuana smuggling ring the Black Tuna Gang, which reportedly moved half a million tons of marijuana from Colombia. He went to prison for 29 years when finally caught, and started up The Silver Tour last year.
To get the word out, The Silver Tour recently bought up two billboards in Deerfield Beach, according to the Sun Sentinel. One urges, “Legalize Medical Marijuana: I’m A Patient Not A Criminal,” while the second says "Reschedule Medical Marijuana" with the quote from Judge Francis L. Young's ruling about pot in 1988: “One of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."
The Silver Tour has gone to Century Village in Pembroke Pines, Golden Lakes in West Palm Beach and a synagogue in Boynton Beach. There, Platshorn talked to seniors about how medical marijuana can help alleviate pain, insomnia, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and other ailments. Doctors, nurses, lawyers and other advocates of legalizing marijuana also speak.
“Nobody speaks to seniors. When Proposition 19 was defeated in California, I looked at the exit polls I saw that seniors voted 65 percent against. That’s my generation. We invented marijuana as it’s known today. I mean, we were Woodstock,” Platshorn told CNN Money.
One of The Silver Tour’s prized speakers is Fort Lauderdale stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, who has been smoking medical marijuana for decades since he was diagnosed with bone cancer, WPBF reported. Every 25 days, the government sends him a tin can filled with marijuana cigarettes. In his book, “My Medicine,” he talks about being one of the four remaining Federal Medical Marijuana patients and his efforts to educate the public about marijuana.
And Florida politicians are listening. State Rep. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) recently sponsored a bill pushing for the medical use of marijuana, although it died in a subcommittee earlier this month.
“This is not a harmful drug that people make it out to be,” Rosenfeld told WPBF.
WATCH: Robert Platshorn talks about the importance of the senior vote in medical marijuana.