Charlo Greene’s whole life changed after she coolly uttered just four simple words: “Fuck it, I quit.”
A former on-air TV reporter at KTVA Alaska, Greene announced her departure from the station during a live broadcast in September 2014. Greene, who was also quietly operating the Alaska Cannabis Club at the time, made the decision to leave journalism to focus full-time on marijuana advocacy. Although Alaska had legalized weed for medical use in 1998, nearly two decades later there was still no system in place to make it accessible for the patients who needed it most.
“We voted, and we sat around and waited for the government to come through,” said Greene, whose legal name is Charlene Egbe.
So in 2014, when Alaska was gearing up to vote on its own proposition to legalize recreational weed and the latest poll numbers showed that support for the effort was sagging dramatically, Greene made a choice.
“Someone needed to do something,” she says.
Greene’s on-air resignation went viral and Alaska did vote to legalize weed that November. In the two years that followed, Greene focused on her cannabis club and worked with the Minority Cannabis Industry Association to educate people of color about the opportunities of marijuana reform. In December 2016, Greene moved to Los Angeles and, in January of this year, began broadcasting The Weed Show, five days a week, from a studio south of downtown.
“Contrary to popular belief I actually loved my career. I was literally living my dream career,” she says. “Now, I have the opportunity to get back to what I love doing.”
Greene chose her new 2,500-square-foot digs because it’s spacious enough to allow for a live studio audience, an office for her and, eventually, a “420-friendly” co-working space that will kick off in the coming weeks. Greene said she also had to pick a location where they could puff, puff, pass without neighbors complaining.
Each show, Greene speaks with notable figures in the cannabis industry, including doctors, activists and even a “cannasexual,” who talks about the relationship and benefits of combining marijuana and sex. Previous segments on Greene’s show include “How to Survive a Police Invasion,” “Sushi and Doobie Rolling Lesson,” and “Cannabis, Me & PTSD.” Earlier this week, Greene hosted representatives from the L.A. Cannabis Task Force to discuss Measure M and what its outcome could mean for Los Angeles.
“There isn’t an outlet that’s providing consistent information about cannabis in a really digestible format,” Greene says. “People love video. They love things they can easily consume.”
While everything appears to be coming up chronic for Greene, she’s doing it all while staring down a possible 54-year prison sentence. Currently out on bail, Greene expects to go to trial this fall for 10 felony and four misdemeanor counts related to her operation of the Alaska Cannabis Club. The charges were a result of two raids and ongoing undercover work by Anchorage police.
The club has never been a dispensary or sold any cannabis, Greene says; it was a private network to connect medical marijuana card holders with people legally growing their own weed. In addition, Greene points out, both raids were conducted after Alaska voted to legalize recreational use.
Now settled in Los Angeles, Greene says she’s interested to see if California will persecute its cannabis operations the way Alaska has.
Greene has a degree in journalism and has stuck to the profession because she wants to change the world by changing the way people look at cannabis. “I know the people of California will at least react and demand answers, unlike the people of Alaska,” Greene says. “This is way more of a community.”
The Weed Show goes live at 4 p.m. every weekday on YouTube and Facebook, and is posted to iTunes afterward. Typically lasting about 30 minutes, although often running much longer depending on her interviews, the show is put on by a team of five women, including Greene, who hosts it. Featuring a news headline segment called “Pot Topics” as well as guest interviews, Greene’s experience as an on-air reporter surfaces in her onscreen composure (although she presumably blazed fewer joints onscreen at her last job).
Within a week of airing, each Weed Show episode typically accumulates at least 5,000 views on YouTube, where Greene has more than 26,00 subscribers. Some segments on Greene’s YouTube channel, such as one titled “How to Grow 25 Pounds of (Legal) Weed a Day With Medicine Man” and “Why I Quit” were posted prior to her show’s launch and have accumulated anywhere from 100,000 to more than 1.5 million views. Greene's also diversifying her efforts through collaborations; she's currently working with a skincare producer to launch a line of CBD-infused skincare products.
“Over the course of these last couple years, it feels like I’ve just been collecting a lot of the pieces of the puzzle to build what I’m building now,” Greene says.