Right now, I’m facing 10 felony and 4 misdemeanor charges for creating the Alaska Cannabis Club. My options now are accept the plea deal that’s been offered or head to trial and put my fate in the hands of 12 of my fellow Alaskans.
The deal on the table includes me taking 1 felony, with a 5-year prison sentence – this will be suspended/held over my head for 3 years and if I don’t commit any crimes during this time, I won’t have to serve the 5 year sentence. BUT if I am accused of committing any acts that are deemed criminal, I will immediately be sent to prison for 5 years.
Now, aside from the current trial I’m facing, I’m a law abiding citizen and I have no issue following the law. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a speeding ticket or two, but even those are few and far between, and have been since my late teens in journalism school, when I learned that if you have more than 3 speeding tickets on your driving record in the last 5 years, it makes it nearly impossible for a station to insure you (which is necessary when you’re given the privilege of driving the news station’s vehicles to cover stories) and you won’t find work.
So that, along with the fact that you a required to submit to a thorough 3-10 year background check before working as a reporter at any news station, I hope demonstrate the fact that I have no issue being on the straight and narrow. So, you’d think I’d be inclined to take the offer on the table, right? I mean, what’s the risk in taking the suspended sentence if I’m not planning on committing any crimes? Wouldn’t three years of probation be better than risking 54 years in prison?
Well, I understand where you’re coming from. On paper, it makes the most sense to accept the deal and spare the risk and expense associated with the trail. But it’s deeper than that.
You have to realize that this trial isn’t just about a girl that’s accused of selling a dime bag. This is the trial against a black woman that spoke out, challenging my conservative state’s continued criminalization of the sick and systematic oppression of communities of color for the use of a plant – and then went to work and actually changed the laws surrounding these injustices. This is not the first or second time the state has spent tens or hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars on prosecuting me, in an attempt to silence me since I spoke out – and they have yet to claim a win.
For example, literally the day after the vote to legalize marijuana in Alaska passed, the state of Alaska contacted the news (before contacting me) to announce they were accusing me of illegal campaigning. The funds I raised through indiegogo for my advocacy were being called into question. This might not seem that odd, but there was only about $8,000 raised, out of the more than $60 million dollars raised during this election season, and my $8,000 was the only amount investigated – for 6 fucking months, which included a dozen physical court appearances. This cost the state well over the $8k of mine they were investigating – and eventually, reluctantly, they cleared me of all charges (which they did not contact the press to announce).
Then again, with The ClubHouse – Alaska’s first 420 friendly lounge. I get into this story in detail in my book – but again, after being accused of breaking the law, being dragged into court and shamed in the press, I won.
This current trial is the state’s third and hopefully final attempt at making me a criminal and bastardizing my legacy. Knowing the lengths the state has gone through, the now hundreds of thousands of dollars they’ve put toward silencing me, the vindictive nature of their approach since “f*ck it”, do you really think they’d let me wait out my three years in peace?
The deal on the table stipulates I not be accused of committing any crimes while on probation. And in both cases, the courts ruled that I did not commit any crimes while campaigning or when operating The ClubHouse but that didn’t stop the accusations of criminal activity that forced me to defend myself in court before being cleared. My understanding of my proposed probation terms are this: if the state decides, or the local police decide or a neighbor or a random ass hater decide to simply accuse me of breaking the law (like they have again and again, as I’ve shown you), I get hauled away to prison to rot for five years – until I can somehow prove I’m innocent of the new accusations from behind prison walls.
I know better to have any faith in the system. I know once I sign that plea deal and accept the felony and suspended five year sentence that accompanies it – depending on those 3 years of probation – the state’s next move will be as simple as throwing another accusation at me, violating my probation and locking me away…
It feels like a set up.
It feels like they’re trying to Meek Mill me.