Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included quotes from Heather Prunty. Prunty claims those comments were mischaracterized and made off the record. The quotes have been removed with my sincere apologies.
Dear Snoop Dogg,
I ain’t got a lot of time, so, I am just going to talk regular, okay?
My name is Kokayi Nosakhere. I am a community organizer from Anchorage, Alaska. You owe me a concert, homie.
I don’t think you understand, Sir, just how busy a community organizer can get. I think if you did, you would give some consideration to what I have to say, because I have to take a lot of time out of my schedule to write you and justify keeping your word bond.
See, I was in Fairbanks, that’s the second largest city in Alaska, fighting for the minimum wage bill by knocking on doors, in late September when Charlo Greene quit live on air. I sat inside the hotel’s business center watching the YouTube clip over and over again. The first time I watched it, my brain froze. I kept asking myself, “What did I just watch?” The second to fourth times were for the aesthetic appeal of the messenger. You know what I mean.
When my brain began working again, I thought, “This is going to get a lot of attention.”
Sure enough, later that night Charlo dropped an indiegogo campaign video, all professionally recorded and edited, to explain her actions. She did the best Dr. King imitation I’ve seen in Alaska. She made weed a human rights issue, which makes sense because the medical marijuana community is the wind beneath the issue’s wings up here.
It took about 12 hours — enough time for people to wake up and get to work — before the haters jumped on Charlo. She was criticized for the whole thing: cursing, choosing to quit live, violating journalistic standards, and making Alaska look bad on the national level, yet, again. An opinion piece came out, Dogg, that gave the opposition to marijuana legalization all the ammunition that it needed to put a dent in the efforts to pass Ballot Measure 2.
Meanwhile, Charlo’s social media currency was increasing by the meme. Alaskans heard through twitter that you watched the YouTube video. (Probably more than once, like I did.) You called Charlo your hero.
Another organizer up here, Nick Moe, was refreshed after losing an August 19 primary vote dealing with oil company taxes, so he called me up. He requested my time, talent, and energy to help pass ballot measures 2, 3, and 4. He outlined a plan where we basically organized a party every week and targeted low-engagement voters.
Time for a history lesson. Marijuana was on the state-wide ballot during both Junior Bush elections, 2000 and 2004. In 2000, the issue was burnt out by 51,000 votes. In 2004, it gained some ground, still, 34,000 Alaskans said: “Hell no!”
Nick was asking me to rally 10-12,000 young people and inspire them to the polls. Yo, homie, that ain’t easy, since “marijuana enthusiasts” don’t like to play politics.
Then, you go and have Charlo on your show. I distinctly remember screenshots of Charlo’s grin on your internet show — the one where you be pushing your vape system — flowing down my Facebook newsfeed.
Following the show a news report came out of the promise that you made. If Alaskans legalized weed, you said that you would give us a free concert.
The word of your promise spread faster than a California forest fire. I chilled with some youths who move matter in the streets. They told me about you, Charlo, and the promise. I asked them who was whispering the who, what, when, and where? The answer I received let me know that this time marijuana had a fighting chance.
I called Nick Moe back. I cancelled some commitments and, literally, slept at the campaign office at 401 E. Northern Lights, Suite 101, for six weeks.
Another brilliant organizer named Kyle Stevens helped run one heaven of a campaign. Kyle and I are on-the-ground experts. We love directly contacting the people and having the conversations necessary to change public opinion one voter at a time. We are sorta like your character in ESPN’s Playmakers.
Offices for ballot measures 2, 3, and 4 already existed. So, they brought their material to our spot. We put in work. A team of 13 people organized smoke shops, an early voting event, a DJ Maseo event at Taproot, and countless yard signs. We ran a social media campaign that reached 55,000 per week. We texted, called and knocked on doors.
Bruh, we got big enough for a Japanese television show to visit us.
On election night, I was inside a mansion with Charlo and 400 other people watching the results. When we won, we celebrated by doing what makes us enthusiasts.
We won by 18,091 votes; over 53 percent of the electorate. We worked damn hard.
Call Charlo, man. She could use a little attention right now. The Alaska Public Office Commission, the state agency that regulates campaigns, is trying to look inside her books. APOC claims she was an advocate for Ballot Measure 2. (I guess that trip to Bethel backfired a little.) She argues that she switched lanes and became a private business, the Alaska Cannibus Club. APOC is not really buying it.
So, when do we see you?
And, by the way, you said a FREE concert.