After Facing 54 Years in Jail, Cannabis Activist Charlo Greene Wins Legal Battle
Greene, the former proprietor of the Alaska Cannabis Club, famously quit her job as a TV news reporter to focus on marijuana advocacy, but she’s spent the past few years fighting for her own freedom.
Published on September 12, 2018

Alaska’s most visible cannabis activist ended a two-year-long criminal trial this week, avoiding 54 years of jail time due to her relationship with marijuana.

In 2014, Charlo Greene, then an anchor at local Anchorage, Alaska CBS affiliate KTVA News, presented a televised story about the Alaska Cannabis Club, a medical marijuana storefront where qualified medical marijuana patients could connect with home growers to access the plant. Before closing segment, Greene revealed herself as the owner of the Cannabis Club, before departing her TV news gig with the now-famous on-air exclamation, “Fuck it, I quit.”

Greene’s unabashed activism quickly went viral, drawing the attention of more than just supportive stoners. In October 2015, more than a year after Greene quit her anchor job, state police raided the Alaska Cannabis Club, confiscated six pounds of pot, and charged Greene with 10 felonies and four misdemeanors.

Court records claim that undercover police purchased pot from Greene’s cannabis club on multiple occasions. By the time the charges were filed, though, Alaska had already legalized cannabis for recreational use. But since the state had not begun licensing businesses, prosecutors pulled no punches, threatening Greene with more than 50 years in jail.

According to the Alaska Dispatch News, now, after two years of court dates and uncertainty, Greene’s legal woes have come to a close. On Monday, Greene filed a single guilty plea in Anchorage Superior Court, admitting to selling pot illegally in 2015. Greene will be fined $10,000, but will not serve any time behind bars for the felony conviction. As a part of her plea agreement, prosecutors have dropped the remaining 13 charges.

While awaiting trial, Greene only ramped up her cannabis activism further, leaving Alaska for the sun-soaked California coast. There, she has resumed her career as a journalist on her own ganja-themed daily talk show, The Weed with Charlo Greene, debuted her own line of CBD products, and released a book detailing her trials and tribulations fighting for legalization, titled “Fuck It: A Guide To Letting Go and Living Free.” 

In an excerpt from her book published by MERRY JANE earlier this summer, Greene explained the pretense for her law-skirting medical marijuana activism, detailing America’s racist policing practices and her home state’s blatant disregard for even legally-qualified medical patients.

“At the club, our goal was always to help the people that everyone else had turned their backs on,” Greene wrote. “And there are countless stories that prove it was doing just that, like Samantha's. Sam was a 72-year-old woman living with a neurological disorder that would, according to her doctors, claim her life. In search of relief from the unending pain, her doctor prescribed her every pharmaceutical he could and none of them worked. He figured that since Sam did not have much time left, he might as well write her a prescription for medical marijuana, but when she asked her doctor where to get that medical cannabis she so desperately needed — cannabis that had been legal in her state since 1998 — he told her to go find it in a back alley. That's right.”

Despite her persistent legal troubles, Greene has never shied away from expressing her cannabis advocacy publicly. And with the looming threat of prison finally in the rear view mirror, she’s shown no signs of slowing down. In an interview with Forbes last year, Greene was confident that her experiences with the authorities would be the last such case in Alaska. And with a fully-implemented recreation cannabis market now operating across the state, it appears she was right.

"Because of me, no one will ever again have to face in the state of Alaska what I’m facing there now,” Greene said.

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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