Quitting is usually something that is looked down on by society, and for good reason. A “quitter never wins,” we are told. That’s because you have to persevere through tough times if you want to accomplish anything in life.
Of course, “there are two sides to every coin,” as we are also told. Sometimes the path you are on is the wrong one, in which case you have two choices: continue down the wrong path and try to make it work, or choose another path.
Charlo Green chose the latter option. As a news reporter in Alaska, Charlo knew she was not on the path she was supposed to be on. So she changed paths and let the world know in one epic, viral moment. After revealing herself to be the owner of the cannabis club she had just reported on, televised live, Charlo pledged to fight for cannabis legalization and uttered the now famous words, “F**k it, I quit.”
This led to a whirlwind of interviews and news stories that made Charlo the hottest thing in the cannabis community. She went from a relatively unknown reporter to a major spokesperson for the legalization movement in a matter of days, something only made possible by the power of the Internet. This led to her life of full-time activism.
I recently got a chance to talk with Charlo about her past, present, and her hopes for the future.
Q: What were you told about cannabis growing up?
Charlo: I wasn’t told anything about cannabis growing up, actually. Outside of the general “don’t do drugs” statement, my mom never demonized the plant.
Q: Why did you want to be involved with the news industry and be a reporter?
Charlo: I became a reporter because I wanted to make a difference.
When I was in college, I saw a news story out of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania about two judges that had been accepting money for years in exchange for sending young poor kids to jail. I couldn’t understand how this injustice happened for so long, affecting so many but I knew if I became a journalist I could use my microphone and camera to shine a light on situations like it to help impact change sooner than later.
Q: Why did you decide to shift into the cannabis industry?
Charlo: Again, because I wanted to make a difference. As a reporter at the CBS affiliate in Anchorage, AK, I began learning about the realities of the war on drugs, meeting the patients and prisoners affected through the stories I was assigned to tell. With my access, knowledge and empathy for victims of the war on drugs, I knew I was likely the only person in a position to help those that needed it – so I created the Alaska Cannabis Club, Alaska’s first and only safe access point in the entire state, to date, as a service to our state’s medical marijuana community.
Looking back, I know now that I became a journalist so that it could lead me to cannabis activism.
Q: What were some of your thoughts before and after the infamous “F**k it, I quit” event?
Charlo: Before “F**k it” I was thinking, ‘I guess this is it,” with a huge smile on my face. I was excited! To be taking a stand and having no idea what the next day might look like because of it, that was like bungee jumping, which I did for my 22nd birthday and was one of my best experiences. That should say enough.
After “F**k it” I remember like it was yesterday, my mind for the next 2 hours was eerily quiet, almost like I was in autopilot mode with the thought “Yo… I just did that” playing on a loop, all while I cleaned out my desk, drove home and was greeted by a very shocked viewing party (no one, including myself, expected the actual “fuck it” part).
Then the quiet was interrupted by a phone call from an east coast morning show; it was the beginning of my new viral reality.
Q: What have you been doing with your viral fame?
Charlo: I’ve been traveling the world, preaching about cannabis reform and empowering thousands to take action and demand the freedoms and futures they deserve. My focus is on fulfilling the promise I made when I stepped away from my career in journalism, to continue to “fight for freedom and fairness,” which right now means working toward ending marijuana prohibition on state, national and international levels, reforming the criminal injustice system and ending mass incarceration.
Q: What kind of projects are you currently involved with?
Charlo: Go GREENE is the new approach to cannabis activism. We’re currently forming grassroots groups in cities across the nation that’ll serve as a hub where community members can educate and empower one another and most importantly, take action to impact change. We’re looking for people willing to stand up and lead their communities through the end of prohibition, especially in communities of color, which have been affected most by prohibition and are now being shut out of the legal landscape. Head to gogreene.org for details.
Also, I’m launching my show, The Charlo Greene Show, which is a talk show aimed at destigmatizing cannabis by shining a positive light on the people fueling the cannabis revolution.
I can’t say too much about it now but we are currently in preproduction on what we know will be groundbreaking for both the community and the cannabis industry. Businesses interested in getting involved should email email@example.com.
Q: What does the future hold for Charlo Greene, hopefully?
Charlo: My future is blindingly bright.
I’m working with Purple Haze Properties and developing a line of cannabis products geared toward women. I also have a number of product collaborations in the works.
I’m writing my first autobiography which should be out this year. It will be followed by a female power-playbook I’m writing with my best friends. In addition to my show, my production company, EFFIT Productions, will create branded content for cannabis companies interested in a creative, engaging and effective approach to attracting and keeping customers. And maybe I’ll get a boyfriend.
The future does indeed seem bright for Charlo Greene. She’s young, smart, energetic, and has a passion for spreading the truth about cannabis and the truth about what prohibition is doing to our society, especially to the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
While most people would not recommend quitting a nice, safe job and striking out on a new path, some things in life are just necessary. Each path is important because, as Charlo pointed out, it eventually takes you to the path that you were meant for.
Life involves many risks, but good things are only worth having if they are tough to get. That is what makes you appreciate them.
Charlo Greene took a risk when she left her safe world of news reporting and entered the volatile world of the cannabis industry. She doesn’t seem to regret it at all.
Sometimes in life, you just have to quit.