Home Sports Brittney Griner’s trial in Russia shifts focus to the medicinal use of cannabis

Brittney Griner’s trial in Russia shifts focus to the medicinal use of cannabis

by Atlanta Business Journal
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WNBA star Brittney Griner’s trial resumed on Tuesday, with her defense team focusing their angle on how cannabis — while illegal in Russia — has a medicinal use. The Associated Press reported that the session lasted about 90 minutes before the case was adjourned until Wednesday.

The trial began on July 1, and since then Griner has pleaded guilty and acknowledged that she did have vape canisters with cannabis oil with her when she was arrested at the Moscow airport in February. However, she has emphasized that it was an accident and there was no criminal intent.

On Tuesday, the AP reported that a Russian neuropsychologist testified about worldwide use of medicinal cannabis.

“We are not arguing that Brittney took it here as a medicine. We are still saying that she involuntarily brought it here because she was in a rush,” defense attorney Alexander Boykov told the AP. 

“The Russian public has to know, and the Russian court in the first place has to know, that it was not used for recreational purposes in the United States. It was prescribed by a doctor.”

The United State has classified her as “wrongfully detained” but Russia does not accept the designation. Earlier this month, the AP reported that Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the legalization of cannabis in the U.S. does not have any effect on what happens in Russia.

“If a U.S. citizen was taken in connection with the fact that she was smuggling drugs, and she does not deny this, then this should be commensurate with our Russian, local laws, and not with those adopted in San Francisco, New York and Washington,” Zakharova told the AP.

If convicted, Griner would face up to 10 years in prison. For a full explainer on Griner’s situation, click here.

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