Charlo Greene Speaks at Seattle Hempfest in 2015/Photo by Gracie Malley
You remember Charlo Greene. Even if you don’t know her by name, you’ll recall the former Alaska television news reporter’s memorable sign-off in 2014, when the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club announced her plans to quit the news game and go full-tilt towards cannabis legalization.
Alaska voted to legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana for adults about six weeks after this memorable segment — but Greene, 28, whose legal name is Charlene Egbe, didn’t wait for Alaska bureaucrats to set up a business structure for cannabis sales.
Her Alaska Cannabis Club started selling “memberships” to people, who could then buy cannabis via “donations,” according to the Guardian.
And in what Greene, who is black, called a “modern-day lynching,” she now faces up to 54 years in prison for 14 charges related to the club’s cannabis activity.
Authorities raided the cannabis club twice over a five-month period, during which time they also made undercover purchases, the Guardian reported. According to court records, Greene was not involved in any of the transactions personally — but since the club was registered under her name, she alone is facing criminal prosecution.
Two other Alaska cannabis clubs are also in trouble for starting cannabis business activities before state regulations were in place, according to the Guardian.
Alaska does not yet have any legal cannabis retail locations. Seventeen retail business licenses have been approved, but none are yet open. Activists say that patients and entrepreneurs are waiting “patiently” for the state to keep up its end of the bargain.
Alaska legalized medical cannabis in 1998, although adults have technically been allowed to possess small amounts of marijuana in their homes following a court decision from the 1970s.
Activists say Greene should face a citation or civil penalties for what should be a business-related violation, not a crime.
Her trial is expected to begin in the next few weeks.
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