In a few decades, the image of marijuana has changed from illegal weed to medicine. Smugglers from the ’80s who found themselves on the wrong side of the law are now talking openly about their once-secret exploits. Doctors and their patients are extolling the virtues of the rebranded plant, and across Florida, the new pot business is booming.
He tasted racing stardom as the 1986 Indy Rookie of the Year. Now Randy Lanier is back in a race car, with a new perspective.
Drug Violence of the ’80s
In the 1980s, the flow of illegal marijuana into South Florida was replaced by the more profitable – and more violent – cocaine trade. There were shootouts between rival drug runners in broad daylight, and President Ronald Reagan sent a multi-district task force down to Miami to solve the problem.
Buying legal weed
Robert Platshorn, or “Bobby Tuna,” spent nearly 30 years in prison for his role in a pot smuggling ring that brought tons of marijuana from Colombia to Florida. Now he advocates for medical marijuana for seniors in his cross-state “Silver Tour.”
Tim McBride calls himself a third generation pot hauler from Everglades City, a tiny fishing town on the southwest tip of the state. He was swept up in the mass drug arrests that made the town infamous, and his book chronicles his exploits.
From plant to medicine
A look at how medical marijuana is grown, processed and sold at Curaleaf, one of Florida’s larger medical marijuana companies. Robert Levy, director of cultivation at Curaleaf, offers a tour of the high tech grow house.
Marijuana as medicine
Dr. Michelle Weiner is a South Florida pain doctor who prefers to prescribe her patients medical marijuana instead of opioids. One of her patients, Paul Messer, says medical marijuana has helped reduce his tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease.
Medical marijuana cards
Michelle Terrell, Florida director of sales and marketing for medical marijuana company Curaleaf, explains how to get a medical marijuana card in Florida.