September 1, 2014

Florida Pays To Bury Teen After Marijuana Arrest

Eric Perez in a photo provided by his family to the media - posted at the Miami Herald website

8/1/2011 -State authorities in Florida caused a stir last week when they stopped a check to pay for the funeral services of a teenager who died after jail staff refused him medical attention. The West Palm Beach Post reported that a $5,000 check issued at the request of the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) was destroyed last week by the state’s Chief Financial Officer. Today the same newspaper is reporting that state CFO Jeff Atwater re-issued the check.

On the night of July 9th Eric Perez as just another young resident in Florida with a small amount of marijuana. He turned 18 just a few weeks earlier. But the next morning Perez was dead. What happened in the time between is the subject of an intense and ongoing investigation.  Some disturbing details have already emerged. [Read more...]

Marijuana Decrim Heats Up in Miami Beach

Robert Platshorn and Irvin Rosenfeld at the Miami Beach City Commissioners meeting

7/14/2011- Tubbs and Crockett could be issuing tickets for pot possession and saving their city’s tax dollars. Popular tourist destination Miami Beach is cranking up the heat for cannabis reform. Some dedicated advocates have spent the last year gathering 9,000 signatures for a decriminalization measure. This week the petition was submitted to the Miami Beach City Commissioners.

The reduction in penalties would mean that adults caught with less than 1 ounce of cannabis would face a $100 fine and no criminal record. That would be a big change from the possible year in jail and $1000 fine currently for up to 20 grams of pot.

Some nationally prominent marijuana activists are residents of the Miami area and have given significant momentum to the cause.

Robert Platshorn served the longest sentence in history for a non-violent marijuana offense: 28 years. He is involved with the campaign and was on the scene this week: “We went in to present the 9,000 signatures and ten of us also testified. Now we’ve verified most of them [signatures]. If 6,400 are verified they have to put it on the ballot or call a special election. The only concern by Commissioners was triggering a special election in these tough economic times. That would cost the city about 250,000 dollars.”

Although concerned about the technical details the Miami Beach Commissioners, including Mayor Matti Herrera Bower, did take the issue seriously. “They were really very receptive to the petition,” Platshorn said, “where we didn’t have a sponsor on the commission; we do now. They all made statements that they were not against it. Again, we were very well received….many of the speeches got applause from the Commissioners.”

Irvin Rosenfeld is one of the few federal medical marijuana patients and garnered some of those applause. Rosenfeld’s tins of 300 cannabis cigarettes are manufactured by federal authorities under a program created in the late 1980’s.Florida saw a state medical marijuana resolution introduced earlier this year but there was no legislative action.

“I care about medicine getting to patients,” said Rosenfeld,”decriminalization helps patients because now they don’t have to worry about being arrested.”

He brought his tin of cannabis to show the Commissioners, “I asked them to hold up their hands and asked if they paid federal taxes. And they all raise their hands and then I took out my tin – I said ‘Isn’t it silly that city police would be spending time and money chasing people down for the same thing you paid for that helps me!’”

Platshorn said that he was optimistic after the meeting, “The actual outcome was as good as we could hope for. We got a realistic appraisal.”

Basically the Commissioners would rather place the ballot on the election in 2012 rather than endure the cost of a separate election just for the decrim measure. This was not lost on activists. “The whole point here is to save the city money,” said Irvin Rosenfeld.

But there is another option where the penalty reductions could simply be adopted without an election. “The City Charter says that if we get 6,400 verified signatures that they may be obliged to call a special election, “ said Platshorn, “So they were willing to consider the possibility of a resolution just to pass the change in penalties on their own.”

The massive amount of tourists in Miami Beach was part of the challenge for the petition. Signature gatherers would be mobbed at popular locations but only a few in the interested crowd would be local voters. They had to shift strategies netting a few signatures at a time with more frequent outings to places like supermarkets.

A strong base of student activism was key to the petition drive, “Miami University, FAU, Florida Central NORML chapters…it really has been terrific down here. Eric Stevens did an amazing job,” said Platshorn, adding, “Then Rakontur Films really did a wonderful thing by supporting this too.”

Platshorn’s story was told in the documentary Square Grouper from Rakontur that showcased the common trade of South Florida marijuana smuggling in the 1970s. The film company gave much needed funding to the effort.

But the same tourism that made voters hard to sift out was another reason for decriminalizing in Miami Beach. There are now sixteen states with legal medical marijuana. Irvin Rosenfeld points out that medical cannabis patients may have been avoiding the area because of the harsh prohibition laws.

“Say I’m a patient in Maine and have to go to a wedding to go to in Miami? Now it would also be safer for patients who are also tourists or here visiting family,” said Rosenfeld, ”there would at least be that security.”

It will take some time for Miami Beach to officially verify the petition signatures but the organizers are confident. Bob Platshorn was inside federal prison for three decades over marijuana, emerging with his head up to re-build his life and family. He also resolved to change the law.

“I honestly believe that Miami Beach will be the first city in Florida to decriminalize.”

 

 

 

Read more at Freedomisgreen.com

IMPORTANT - Full Text: Department of Justice Memo on Medical Marijuana

Freedom Buzz

Maryjane’s Corner

Sensible Science

Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions?  chris@freedomisgreen.com


 

 

 

 

East Coast Marijuana Update: May 2011

5/27/2011: UPDATE 6/4/2011 - Elected officials on the East Coast continue a period of intense activity working on marijuana reform bills. From Maine to Florida legislators are considering medical access, decriminalization and full legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Some bills have passed or remain active while others have been stalled or killed in committees.  Here are some details of the notable actions along with a quick-reference list that includes activism links. [Read more...]

Florida man wins medical marijuana defense

4/29/2011 – Even in states without a specific law seriously ill residents are fighting for the right to access cannabis. Today a court in Florida dismissed charges against a disabled man because he was using marijuana for medical purposes.

From WPEC – CBS 12 Boynton Beach, FL

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.  –  53-year-old Jeff Kennedy was prepared to spend five years in prison for growing medical marijuana for medical reasons. But on Friday, Kennedy showed up in court wearing a t-shirt stating, ‘I am a patient not a criminal,’ and it turns out the state agrees. The state dropped the charges at the last minute.

“I’m just going to go forward and advocate for medical cannabis,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy suffers from chronic pain caused by a botched back surgery. His legs burn and twitch constantly. Doctors have prescribed him a cocktail of highly addictive and dangerous pain killers.

“It is slowly killing me,” said Kennedy. Read more: http://www.cbs12.com/articles/fla-4732209-marijuana-medical.html#ixzz1Kxhg6Wps

Last month FL Rep. Jeff Clemens introduced a resolution that would create a state regulated medical cannabis system. If there are more advocates like Mr. Kennedy it may not take long to pass.

Read more at Freedomisgreen.com

Florida Rolls Forward for Medical Marijuana

Florida: Robert Platshorn Moves Medical Marijuana

Florida: Robert Platshorn Moves Medical Marijuana

Bobby Tuna used to move tons of marijuana by sea and air. Activism is what moves voters and legislators; and it comes in all forms. For medical cannabis just providing basic education can have a profound impact. Especially when the right person delivers the message.

Robert Platshorn, also known as Bobby Tuna, spent 30 years in federal prison. His sentence was the longest for any non-violent marijuana offense. Bobby has a book about his smuggling days, Black Tuna Diaries, and writes articles for High Times Medical Marijuana Magazine.

Now’s he’s giving talks about the benefits of medical cannabis as part of the NORML/High Times Silver Tour to educate seniors.

Bobby has been joining Irvin Rosenfeld, one of the four surviving federal medical marijuana patients, for special presentations to local political clubs.

It was January when Platshorn spoke in front of the Palm Beach County delegation. State Representative Jeff Clemens requested more information after the meeting and then quickly introduced a resolution to legalize medical marijuana.

This story touches many important points of how activism really works and highlights the new frontier for marijuana politics: Americans over the age of 65

Bobby Tuna took time to speak with freedomisgreen.com from Florida today for the first-hand account.

Freedom –Tell us a little bit about how this medical marijuana bill got started

It’s a good example of how just a couple of people can really make a difference.

Several months ago at our chapter meeting of NORML of South Florida one of our chapter members suggested that we go to local meetings where legislators come to their district and hear what the people have to say. The first meeting was in the City of South Miami. [Read more...]

BREAKING: Florida Gets Medical Marijuana Bill

3/9/2011 11:29AM UPDATE 6:11PM- A Florida House Representative has formally introduced a medical cannabis bill this week. Advocates and the sponsor are planning a press conference for 10:00AM local time tomorrow on the 4th floor of the Capitol Building in Tallahassee.

[Read more...]