Robert Platshorn spent more than 30 years in prison for marijuana related crimes. Today he can’t get 30 minutes on an Orlando TV station to air a video about the injustice of the drug war in America, even though he was willing to pay for it.
“I apologize greatly for this but the station has had some changes and they no longer will accept the content of your show,” Rachel Weaver, an Account Executive with CoxReps, told Platshorn in an email. “I need to cancel your order. I am really sorry for any inconvenience.”
Platshorn said this same video has aired on television stations across the U.S. and doesn’t understand why WKCF in Orlando would reject his video.
"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."
After further questioning from Platshorn, Weaver stated: “There is too much controversy in politics in Florida right now with it.”
The show in question is 'Should Grandma Smoke Pot?' It’s a 30-minute educational and informative film featuring experts and advocates discussing the medicinal qualities of marijuana. It was featured last month on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central.
The film is distributed locally by Platshorn, a paroled ex-con who is featured in the Showtime movie, Square Grouper, which chronicles his life in the 1970's in South Florida as a marijuana distributor.
The married 70-year-old now conducts seminars through www.thesilvertour.org to educate the elderly about the medicinal uses of marijuana.
Norm Kent, publisher of SFGN and noted First Amendment attorney, has in the past represented Platshorn.
“For a television station to censor a pro pot message because it’s ‘controversial’ is abhorrent and preposterous,” Kent said. “As the publisher of a newspaper I can’t imagine ever doing such a thing.”
Kent is also the newly elected chair of the board of directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
“The foolish decision makers at that TV station are a few croutons short of a salad,” Kent continued. “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."