You probably remember Charlo Greene as the "F--k it, I quit" journalist and former KTVA reporter who epically dropped the mic on-air in September after revealing to viewers that she was head of the Alaska Cannabis Club.
Well, Alaskans are headed to the polls today (November 4) to vote on Ballot Measure 2, which would legalize the recreational use of pot in the state. Greene, 26, has been one of the public faces of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska, so we asked [anti-legalization booster Ryan Lasher] and Greene to tell us how she got here and explain why this issue has become her passion. This is her story:
When people hear my story, they either get it or they don't. They applaud the moves I've been making to advocate for marijuana reform over the course of the past couple of months, calling them bold and inspiring ... or they question my motives, attack my integrity and call me ungrateful.
I'm the "f--k it, I quit" lady from Alaska who walked away from her dream job, working as a TV news anchor, to advocate for marijuana reform -- and I understand both reactions completely. Until you've experienced, witnessed or at least educated yourself enough to SEE the harm our current marijuana laws are inflicting on our nation, I don't expect you to get it.
This was not about me wanting to make a difference, it was knowing that I had an opportunity to make an impact and use my voice to say this is a vote not just for recreational, but for medical [marijuana]. The medical patients are why I quit my job. It's been 16 years since we got medical marijuana and there are no dispensaries because the state never set them up.
If no one you know has been sick enough to risk their freedom, committing the criminal act of buying marijuana to treat their medical condition, you won't get it.
If you don't know any good people that have been arrested for [using marijuana] ... how could you ever understand my decision to quit my job in order to fight for marijuana reform? The people with the No campaign don't see this as an initiative that will regulate marijuana for adults over 21, but as a way for the stereotypical, cliche stoner to get more pot. That's not at all what this is.
Yes, I had an awesome job as a TV journalist, but it was just that -- a job. Now, I'm working for a cause -- marijuana reform -- and every day is so much more fulfilling. It was not easy after I quit. My mother was not with [my decision to quit] at first ... but over the course of the last month she's come around and I think I've swayed her to a Yes vote.
To this day my boyfriend's family is bombarded with phone calls every day, every single hour!
I'm also doing this because my best friend, who has a master's degree in social work, had to stop going to school for a year and stop working because she had to get an attorney to defend her for simple possession for pot her boyfriend had in his pocket when their rental car was stopped.
She's probably the best person I know, the most upstanding ... the one who will bring your grandma flowers after church, and it's insane that because marijuana is illegal, this is what it's doing to people like her.
I've always known that I'd live a life of service. I thought acting as a community watchdog and reporting on injustice would be enough, until I opened my eyes to the injustice that marijuana prohibition has, is and will continue to do, if it is allowed to continue.
As a regular marijuana consumer, I could no longer just sit back and report on the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana's efforts to finally legalize a substance that I know has helped me in so many ways (stress, anxiety, overcoming alcohol addiction, insomnia ...) when I knew that my voice could make a big difference and instigate change.
I know far too many desperately ill people that rely on cannabis to treat or appease their medical conditions that are forced to feed the black market or go without because of marijuana prohibition. Too many of my friends, neighbors and family members have been thrown in jail and continue to miss out on opportunities because of marijuana prohibition.
Many are too afraid of the stigma attached to marijuana to speak out and fight for change. I am fighting for them.
On November 4, voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. will decide whether to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over, and voters in Florida will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana. I hope that each voter educates themselves before heading to the polls and will use facts, reason and compassion in deciding how they cast their private ballot.
Regardless of what happens on November 4, I will continue working for marijuana reform across the nation and the world. This is my calling and I think justice will prevail.
The opinions expressed in this essay do not reflect those of MTV News, MTV Networks or parent company Viacom Inc.