Brittney Griner Pleads Guilty to Cannabis Charges in Russia

Last Thursday, July 7th, 2022 WNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty for “inadvertently” bringing hash oil into Russia. She told the Russian court that she accidentally packed the vape cartridges and did not intend to break Russian law and also asked for mercy. 

If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison, which has sparked protests from American politicians, celebrities, and athletes. There is also a petition on Change.org that has surpassed 320,000 signatures

This unanimous support is no surprise since Griner is not only a beloved athlete, but 68% of Americans believe that all recreational cannabis should be legal.  

Brittany Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist has been detained in Russia since February 17, 2022, while she was starring in the Russian EuroLeague Club UMMC Ekaterinburg, where she helped her team win four EuroLeague championships and seven Russian League championships. 

During this time, the U.S. State Department said it continues to work for Griner’s release and that they also sent her a letter from President Biden that offered support as well as told her of the conversation he had with her concerned wife — letting her know he is doing everything he can to get her immediate release. 

Elizabeth Rood, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, said,

"I would like again to emphasize the commitment of the U.S. government at the very highest level to bring home safely Ms. Griner and all U.S. citizens wrongfully detained as well as the commitment of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to care for and protect the interests of all U.S. citizens detained or imprisoned in Russia."

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said, 

"[Griner] has the wholehearted and unconditional support of the entire WNBA and NBA family, who eagerly await her safe return, and the league will recognize BG as an honorary starter at this weekend's WNBA All-Star Game.''

The U.S. Needs to Legalize Cannabis Nationwide

While all of this support from the U.S. is nice, the outcome of this case which is projected to go until August, is uncertain, especially since Russia is in a war with Ukraine that we are against and helping to arm and offer aid.

To add gasoline to the fire, the United States still has not made recreational cannabis use legal nationwide, and they still have very conservative cannabis laws in regards to how they treat people when they cross our border with any marijuana product, including hash oil. 

This hypocrisy is not only unfair and does not follow the majority of the country’s opinion, but it makes our pleas to free Griner seem empty. I personally hope this unjust situation encourages America to pass radical marijuana legislation and that Brittney Griner is sent back home as soon as possible. To help Griner get back home safe, please sign the petition at change.org.

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Brendan Irving

NYC living, food-loving, music-making, and party attending writer working in the ad business for the last eight years. Actor to ad man, Brendan got his start writing comedy and sketches and performed all over NYC and the tri-state area. He is now committed to writing powerful pieces that will put a smile on any face.

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