D.C.: Silver Tour Lobby Day Will Be First Ever Senior Marijuana Rally In Nation's Capitol
By Steve Elliott
Imagine, if you will, a hundred angry senior citizens storming Capitol Hill in partnership with college students, demanding safe access to medical marijuana. With your support, that could happen next month -- at a crucial time.
Plans are being made for the first-ever senior marijuana rally and lobbying event in Washington, D.C., on June 17. The event is sponsored by a partnership of The Silver Tour and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP).
The seniors will be in town to lobby the House of Representatives for passage of a budget amendment to prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states with legal cannabis. It is expected to come up for a vote in late June.
"If passed, it opens the door for other states that are holding back on medical or legalization for fear of the feds," said Robert Platshorn, leader of The Silver Tour, who was featured in the hit Showtime movie, Square Grouper. The Silver Tour was recently spotlighted on Jon Stewart's Daily Show, CNN Money and on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.
Platshorn has a demonstrated ability to inspire seniors to action when it comes to the medical marijuana issue. Politically active seniors are the secret weapon for marijuana legalization; once we have that demographic firmly on our side, nationwide cannabis legalization is all but a done deal.
So how did plans for the joint student/senior Lobby Day event come about? Hemp News had a chance to chat with Platshorn.
"Last Thursday at about 6:30 a.m., I was trying to catch up on my email when I opened an SSDP mailing announcing a student Lobby Day on Capitol Hill," Platshorn told us. "I rarely have time to read mass mailings, but I have great admiration for SSDP and glanced at the first paragraph:
"Our movement faces a critically limited window of time between now and this summer, when the U.S. House of Representatives may vote on an amendment that would seek to curtail DEA enforcement activities in states with legal marijuana markets. Join SSDP for a day of lobbying training, then head to Capitol hill to make your voice heard."
"Two things occurred to me," Platshorn told us. "This is clearly a key amendment. If passed, it will not only affect legal states, it would clear the way for all those states that are defying public demand for medical marijuana, by claiming fear of federal action.
"The other thought was," Robert told us, "students lobbying for cannabis are too easily trivialized. 'Just kids wanting legal pot.' More important, the press could simply ignore this Student Lobby Day as a non-event for the same reason.
"Without press support, it would be difficult to pressure Congress to vote for what most Americans have already said they want," Platshorn said. "What could make Congress, the press and the American public take notice?
"How about a hundred or two hundred angry seniors, walking hand in hand with students up Capitol Hill to demand 'safe legal access' to an important medicine, without federal interference?" Platshorn asked. "Now that would be a news story. The kind of story that makes networks salivate for interviews. It could feed the cable news cycle for days.
"I phone Aaron Houston, executive director of SSDP, and asked permission for The Silver Tour to bring seniors," Platshorn told Hemp News. He agreed that seniors could put this event on the political front burner -- and I was off to the races.
"It only took me an hour to get commitments from several movement leaders in the Northeast," Platshorn said. "They would fill the buses, if The Silver Tour could pay for them. One supporter in Maryland offered to pay for a bus, if we could fill it.
"One more thing was needed," Platshorn said. "It would be a long day on the Hill for seniors. We'd need to give them a good lunch when they arrive. We would invite the media and create the perfect opportunity for interviews.
"It takes money to do all of this, so I set up a Go Fund Me for the event," Platshorn told us. "I thought activists would understand what could be accomplished and support would flow in. I believed that sponsors would jump at the chance for millions of dollars in positive publicity for their companies and the gratitude of millions of patients and activists.
"Well, the flow is a trickle and the sponsors haven't appeared," Platshorn said. "Hard to believe! $5,000 can make it happen and $10,000 would make it a first class major national press event. The Silver Tour is raising the funds, and will pick up the bill for as many SSDP students as possible to be included at the luncheon and press event."
That's where you come in. Contributions of any amount to the Go Fund Me are very helpful.
The Silver Tour also needs a sponsor or sponsors for the luncheon and buses on Lobby Day. "Sponsored by" and the sponsor's logo will appear large on all banners and signage at the lunch and press conference.
"The sponsors will be national heroes to the millions of seniors, students and everyone in the country who supports medical marijuana and cannabis reform," Platshorn said. Sponsors can also be anonymous, if desired.
"This will be the most historic D.C. event to date," Platshorn said. "Irv Rosenfeld, who gets his medical marijuana from the federal government and is also a Silver Tour director, will be on hand with me to meet with press and fans."
(Photo: The Wall Street Journal)