Originally published at MintPress News.
AUSTIN, Texas — Charlo Greene, the local news anchor from Alaska who became a viral sensation for quitting her job while voicing her support for cannabis legalization during a live broadcast, now faces decades in prison on a growing list of drug-related charges.
“Fuck it, I quit,” Greene famously declared live on KTVA on Sept. 22, 2014 at the end of a report on the Alaska Cannabis Club. In addition to revealing that she was actually the owner of the club, she said she was leaving the station to work on the business and push for cannabis law reform full-time.
In the November 2014 election, Alaska became the third state to legalize recreational cannabis, but Greene stands accused of illegally selling the drug in the time between when the vote to legalize took place and the state fully implemented the law. Alaskan police conducted multiple raids and undercover investigations of the club.
On Sept. 29, Sam Levin, a U.S. reporter for The Guardian, explained the loophole police used to charge Greene:
The 2014 measure – which legalized the manufacture, sale and possession of marijuana – went into effect in February 2015. The state, however, had not yet finalized its regulations for retail operations and in the interim, the Alaska Cannabis Club allowed people to purchase “memberships” – supplying marijuana when members made “donations.”
Watch Anchor Who Quit on Air to Sell Weed Faces 24 Years in Prison:
Initially, Greene was charged with eight separate counts of violating drug laws, which added up to a maximum sentence of 24 years in prison. However, on Sept. 29 — soon after the media began to cover her story — the Alaska State Attorney General’s office added an additional six drug-related charges, bringing her total possible sentence to a staggering 54 years in prison.
— Charlo Greene (@IamCharloGreene) September 29, 2016
Greene called the charges a “modern day lynching” in a Sept. 7 blog post. Although 25 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational or medical cannabis, data released by the FBI shows police made a cannabis-related arrest every 49 seconds in 2015. Other data shows that minorities are still disproportionately targeted for arrest.
Greene, who is 28 years old, told Levin:
It’s almost dizzying when you try to make sense of it. It could literally cost me the rest of my adult life.
The news anchor-turned-legal cannabis advocate is fighting back against her charges, taking to social media to promote an online petition asking for the state to drop the charges and raise money for cannabis law reform. As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had 733 signatures.
In an Oct. 5 interview with Tess Koman, an associate editor at Cosmopolitan, Greene said she sometimes struggles with feeling like she lacks support from the local community. Under the terms of her bail, she can no longer be present at her own club.
“In spite of me giving up everything I had and was to fight for Alaskans, it seems absolutely no one here is standing by me in my time of need,” Greene said.
Still, she told Koman she stands by her decisions and encouraged others, especially women, to join the fight for cannabis law reform. Greene told Koman:
Know that you’re fighting for what’s right. Know that what you’re doing is going to bring about so much good, not just you or your immediate family member you’re fighting for, but to your community and generations to come.