It was on September 22, 2014, that KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quit her job on air while also uttering profanity. The former reporter for the station in Alaska had finished the final filmed segment on marijuana by revealing that she was in support of legalization and was the owner of the Alaskan Cannabis Club.
— HIGH TIMES (@HIGH_TIMES_Mag) October 2, 2016
The then-26-year-old shocked and appalled her colleagues when she said “F*** it, I quit” prior to abruptly walking off camera. The stunt made her a sensation on the internet overnight.
After walking away from her reporting position, Greene became a full-time advocate for cannabis and worked daily to help Alaskans gain access to marijuana after the state becoming the third in the United States to legalize recreational pot in November of that year.
Although the vote turned up a decision that legalized the recreational use of the substance, Alaska has fought against Greene’s initiative to begin a legitimate marijuana operation. Instead, the state has “launched a series of undercover operations and raids at her club, ultimately charging her with eight serious criminal offenses of ‘misconduct involving a controlled substance,'” as the Guardian reported. If the former reporter is convicted, she could face 24 years in prison.
“Greene, whose legal name is Charlene Egbe, said she first became interested in marijuana in college” https://t.co/mNLDr20wkj
— Dan McQuade (@dhm) September 28, 2016
Greene spoke about her feelings regarding the jail time she could face for her efforts.
“It’s almost dizzying when you try to make sense of it. It could literally cost me the rest of my adult life.”
Referring to her own case as “a modern-day lynching,” the 28-year-old’s situation has caused questions to be raised about the ongoing battle that rages on regarding the drug, that more U.S. states are moving to legalize, and intend to regulate like alcohol.
The Guardian discusses the unusual circumstance that has resulted in hefty charges against Greene.
“While reporters across the globe rushed to interview the activist after her comical on-air resignation, the Anchorage woman has struggled to get people to pay attention to her prosecution. Advocates say the charges against Greene, who is black, are particularly alarming given the government’s history of disproportionately targeting people of color for minor marijuana offenses with tough-on-crime policies that fueled mass incarceration.”
Born Charlene Egbe, the accused first became a user of marijuana in college when she realized it was a healthier alternative to alcohol. After working at news stations in Georgia, Tennessee, and West Virginia, Greene made the return to her hometown in Alaska to work for the station affiliated with CBS. She was assigned to cover crime, courts, and, later, marijuana. It was after meeting activists in Colorado and Washington that Greene became more passionate about the medical value of the drug.
“It was something I had been taking for granted – that this could literally be changing these people’s lives.”
Although marijuana has been legalized in the state of Alaska, the history of cannabis and laws regarding the substance has involved a very confusing history. It was the first state to legalize the substance in the 1970s and passed a formal medical law in 1998. However, officials never made a system for licensing medical dispensaries, which means there were few legal options to accessing cannabis.
Stanford law professor spoke on the subject.
“No one could ever agree on what the state of the law in Alaska actually was.”
Greene’s inspiration to open her own cannabis club first came from meeting an older woman who had a neurological disorder and was forced to buy marijuana on the streets. This led to one instance when she was robbed at gunpoint. Greene then organized a private patients’ association, which became more than a side initiative, and she eventually decided to use her job in the media to reveal her club.
[Featured Image by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]