Pot backer who quit TV job on air fights subpoena

AP News
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Posted: Nov 19, 2014 6:54 PM

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska television reporter who quit her job with a four-letter tirade during a live newscast after revealing she supported pot legalization is fighting a subpoena from the state panel that enforces election laws.

The Alaska Public Offices Commission wants to know whether Charlo Greene used crowdsourcing funds to advocate for a ballot initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

Alaska and Oregon this month joined Washington and Colorado as states approving legal pot.

The commission is trying to determine whether money that was spent would trigger reporting requirements, said Thomas Lucas, its campaign disclosure coordinator for groups. Alaska's ballot measure was mentioned on the crowdfunding website, according to a printout included in exhibits with the case file.

Lucas told commissioners in a memo this month that the investigation so far had found that Greene or the medical marijuana business she runs apparently engaged in campaign activities aimed at influencing the election's outcome.

Greene is the professional name used by Charlene Egbe, who considers the commission action to be harassment. In an email responding to a subpoena of records last month, Greene said that if the panel continued to bother her, she would "most certainly" sue.

Greene made headlines in September when, while reporting on a story, she revealed herself to be the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, quit her TV job and vowed to work to legalize pot.

Representatives for Greene argued before the commission Wednesday that Greene was simply trying to promote her business and was waging a personal campaign favoring changes to marijuana laws. They said she was misled into believing she had to register her business as a political entity.

One of Greene's representatives, Ronda Marcy, said Greene had a right, as an individual, to express her views. She said Greene was working on a "freedom and fairness campaign," and when Greene and Lucas had a conversation, they both were discussing campaigns but referring to different things.

Lucas said that with the extent that the club supported the ballot measure, it was required to register.

The commission took the matter under advisement.

Greene, in responding to the subpoena last month, said the "freedom and fairness fight" was about helping medical marijuana patients have safe access to their medication and is a "global entity," not confined to Alaska. If the commission wants documents from the crowdfunding site, it should direct their inquiries to the site, she said. She claimed constitutional protections against having to disclose requested information.