Just hours ago, WNBA star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to her drug charges. Brittney Griner made headlines when she was originally detained back in February and charged with drug possession and smuggling. The professional basketball player was traveling overseas to play during the off-season when she was stopped in Moscow, she was arrested for bringing hashish oil and vape cartridges into Russia. While in court Griner says the items were inadvertently brought with her.
“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law… I’d like to give my testimony later, I need time to prepare.”
In the following months, millions demanded her release as Griner’s detention has extended while awaiting trial. Many maul over expert’s claims of a “transactional” solution. Like much of the world, cannabis is illegal in Russia. Small amounts can be punished with a fine or 15-days in detention. Larger amounts are a criminal offense punishable with up to ten years in prison. Others have been arrested for the same and others have been pardoned for the same as well. Considering the state of things currently, something of a transaction for Brittney’s release is more likely.
Multiple news sources claim the guilty plea will not end the trial itself. Griner will present her testimony at the next court hearing on July 14. Griner could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted in the end. The choice of a guilty plea, however, was made to facilitate a prisoner swap between Russia and the U.S. Experts on these types of negotiations shared that her admission of guilt was required, regardless of the facts. Still, archaic views on cannabis led to situations like this in the first place.
Until the U.S. or any other large country changes its stance on cannabis, things will remain this way. For years, it’s been a copy-cat attitude with the World Health Organization. On that scale, no one has wavered in favor of cannabis. In how it affects Brittney Griner’s case, we’ll keep you updated as it unfolds.