Outspoken cannabis advocate Charlo Greene may face 54 years of prison time after a series of raids on her cannabis club in Alaska resulted in charges of ten felony and four misdemeanor charges for various drug offenses.
The severity of the charges seems ridiculous, considering they are for operating the equivalent of cannabis dispensary (the kind you’d find on any block of Los Angeles) and especially considering that marijuana is actually legal in Alaska. “It’s almost dizzying when you try to make sense of it,” Greene told the Guardian. “It could literally cost me the rest of my adult life.”
Greene became a well-known face of marijuana advocacy when she famously resigned from her position as an anchor at KTVA in Anchorage by saying, “Fuck it. I quit,” in the middle of a news story on cannabis. Since then, she has been a proponent for marijuana legalization, travelling the US and launching her own cannabis news site.
But what got Greene into her recent trouble is her Alaska Cannabis Club. Anchorage Police made six undercover purchases and conducted two raids on the establishment in late 2014. This all gets a bit legally strange because marijuana is technically legal in Alaska, but it wasn’t legal yet when the police conducted their investigation.
Legalization passed in 2014 but it didn’t take effect until February 2015. But Greene and ACC didn’t wait. They permitted people to buy “memberships” to the club and gave these members cannabis products in exchange for “donations,” not unlike how the medical marijuana system works in California.
Though Greene wasn’t present during either raid, she is so far the only person to be charged in this in depth investigation, most of the counts being for “misconduct involving a controlled substance.” According to Greene, the police and prosecutors showed some serious misconduct of their own.
“Each time, the officers acted outside the scope of the warrant, conducting unlawful body searches on patients, threatening all patients and Club volunteers with arrest if they didn’t consent to taking mugshot-like photos on the scene, destroying cameras, seizing vehicles not included in the warrant and not leaving the lawfully required notice behind.
What’s more, in order to secure the 10 felonies and four misdemeanors I’m now facing for creating the Alaska Cannabis Club, the prosecutor blatantly lied to the grand jury, telling them the Alaska Cannabis Club was a sole proprietorship so there was no corporate liability shield.”
According to the Guardian, many experts think it’s unlikely that Greene will serve most of those 54 years, but the charges still loom large over the advocate. “It casts a cloud over every laugh and every triumph and everything that I’m building and looking forward to,” she said.