In February 2013, we explained how the legalization of limited marijuana sales in Colorado and Washington were prefigured by a case in Alaska that dates back decades -- but which has resulted in a confusing and unregulated situation.
Now, however, the movement for regulating marijuana sales in Alaska following the Colorado and Washington models has a new face -- that of Charlo Greene, a KTVA-TV reporter who announced that she was leaving her job to work full time as the head of Alaska Cannabis Club via an on-air resignation last night that concluded, "Fuck it, I quit." Here's the video:
The Alaska Cannabis Club Facebook page teased Greene's epic departure in advance with this note: "This is happening in less than 20 minutes #Alaska." And shortly thereafter, the organization launched an IndieGoGo campaign entitled "Alaska Cannabis Club's Freedom and Fairness Fight." Here's the intro, which prominently references Colorado and Washington:
I'm Charlo Greene, the president and CEO of the Alaska Cannabis Club - Alaska's only legal medical marijuana resource. I just quit my news reporting job on live TV to announce that I am redirecting all of my energy toward helping to end a failed drug policy that has ruined the lives of far too many Americans.
Ballot Measure 2, the initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska, isn't just about marijuana in the Last Frontier, it's about keeping the ball rolling on NATIONAL legalization. Imagine, if after Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana and are offering the rest of the world a positive outlook on what ending marijuana prohibition can do, Alaskan voters fail to continue moving our nation in the direction toward freedom and fairness. There's no doubt that will impact every other state, national and international marijuana reform effort. Americans with common sense don't want that.
There's irony in Alaska looking to Colorado and Washington as role models given its own marijuana-legalization history, which writer Charles Trowbridge outlined in this space last year. An excerpt:
Alaska's landmark marijuana case, 1975's Ravin v. Alaska, questioned the state's interpretation of an individual's right to privacy as defined in both the U.S. and Alaska constitutions. Essentially, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that it is within an individual's right to possess less than four ounces of cured marijuana, or less than 25 plants, in a private residence -- without interference from state law enforcement. This is similar to Colorado's Amendment 64 in spirit, but the comparison is muddied by blurry legal terminology. According to NORML, Alaska's "four ounces or less" is not classified as any kind of punishable offense. In Colorado, possession of one ounce for personal use, or the gifting of one ounce or less, carries, by law, no penalty; Coloradans are also allowed up to six plants for cultivation. The main difference is that in Colorado, the citizens voted for this. In Alaska, the law was decided by the state supreme court, and the laws have been left deliberately open to interpretation.
The Alaska Dispatch News accurately describes Alaska's marijuana laws as "murky," yet the reasons for this situation are clear. As Trowbridge notes, "Alaska decriminalized possession of marijuana in the home 37 years ago but has not taken any other steps toward developing a comprehensive and consistent relationship with marijuana. The result is a veritable 'Wild West' of a black market in a massive state, with no real ability to monitor how much marijuana is being produced and passed around Alaska and beyond."
Greene wants that to change, and her on-air resignation was deliberately designed to draw attention to her goal. Afterward, KTVA news director Bert Rudman posted this message to viewers: "We sincerely apologize for the inappropriate language used by a KTVA reporter during her live presentation on the air tonight. The employee has been terminated." But surprisingly few Facebook commenters appear to have been angered by what happened. One posted this meme....
...while others noted that Rudman's statement didn't seem entirely accurate. Some sample responses:
I think she quit before you terminated her.
Terminate?? Lmfao! She F Bombed you and quit!! P.s. Beat this one Sarah Palin!!! Lol!!
First off, that was the best news report ever. Secondly, can't fire someone if they quit first.
Baha! Nice one.
KTVA should be grateful for this fiasco. This is the most traffic their Facebook page has gotten in a long time!
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The ACA's IndieGoGo campaign has a goal of raising $5,000; click here to access it. In the meantime, here's another video in which Greene explains why she did what she did.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.