America’s Longest Serving Pot Prisoner Coming To Denver


Photo: Robert Platshorn
The Black Tuna, Robert Platshorn (right), with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson

‚ÄčPopular author and outspoken cannabis activist Robert Platshorn will be in Denver on December 16 to promote the upcoming feature documentary adapted from his highly praised memoir, Black Tuna Diaries. He’ll do a book signing at Denver Relief, a local dispensary, and pay a visit to Kush Con to introduce The Silver Tour for older Americans who need medical marijuana.

According to High Times magazine, Platshorn, dubbed “The Black Tuna” by the Drug Enforcement Administration, served more time in prison — almost 30 years — for a nonviolent marijuana offense than anyone else in America.
Platshorn, whose writing often appears in High Times and their new Medical Marijuana magazine, will be at Denver Relief, 1 Broadway, from 2 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16. He’ll autograph copies of Black Tuna Diaries and preview clips from the documentary film Square Grouper.

The feature-length documentary was produced by rakonturthe award-winning team that made Cocaine Cowboys and the ESPN special “The U.” Square Grouper chronicles the wild heyday of the South Florida pot smugglers.

It tells the story of the three major smuggling groups of the late 1970s: the Black Tuna Gang, a group of gentlemen smugglers whose famous Santa Marta Gold is legend among pot smokers and became the mother strain for most types of today’s medical marijuana; the Zion Coptic Church, whose cannabis fields almost saved the Jamaican economy; and Everglades City, a town on the edge of the swamp, entirely devoted to the marijuana trade.

A visit to Kush Con at the convention center will find Bobby Tuna signing books at the Mile High NORML booth. Just look for the banner that says “The Silver Tour.” The Tour is Platshorn’s personal mission to educate seniors on the benefits of medical marijuana. Robert saw the need for The Silver Tour when the exit polls in California clearly showed that lack of support from seniors doomed California’s full legalization of marijuana under Proposition 19.

Supported by NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and High Times Medical Marijuana Magazine, The Silver Tour will hit the road to America’s senior communities and auditoriums in 2011, featuring education, information, and free food. The shows will be hosted by Platshorn, who, according to the late, great pitchman Billy Mays, “was a legend in the pitch business.”

Platshorn’s Black Tuna Diaries would make a great gift for that marijuana enthusiast on your list, but it’s much more than just a great smuggling tale. It chronicles Robert’s years as an actor, a pitchman on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, his years in London where he founded the Dynamic Reading Institutes and attended board meetings at The House of Rothschild, his venture into the bull ring in Spain, fishing for big game in the Caribbean and his 30-year sojourn through America’s federal prison system, from the SuperMax where John Gotti died down to the federal work camp wrongly labeled Camp Fed.

You can preview the chapters at

“This book is different than many, or even most, novels you read about drug smuggling,” wrote book reviewer Lou Novacheck. “It reads true, and Platshorn’s propensity to display the entire picture, warts and all, is both commendable and a refreshing touch. Even the dedication page in this book is different from the usual vapid or sometimes maudlin dedications one sees in books today, and is worth a read.”