WNBA star Brittney Griner’s defense team argued in a Russian court Tuesday that she used cannabis for medicinal purposes, according to multiple reports. While medical marijuana is legal in select states in the U.S., it is illegal in Russia, but her attorney told reporters she packed it unintentionally.
“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 Associated Press. “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.”
Griner, who has been detained in Russia since February, pleaded guilty earlier this month to drugs charges for carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage at a Moscow airport. The 31-year-old told a judge that she didn’t intend to break the law and accidentally packed the hashish oil.
In February, Griner was returning to Russia to join UMMC Ekaterinburg, the team she plays for in the WNBA offseason, after a FIBA break when Russian authorities took her into custody at a Moscow-area airport on the charge of drug smuggling. The Phoenix Mercury center faces up to a 10-year sentence on the drug charge.
Griner is expected to appear again in court Wednesday afternoon.
After Tuesday’s hearing, “Good Morning America” aired a clip of Griner speaking with one of the show’s producers in the courtroom. During the conversation, Griner wished her wife Cherelle “good luck on the bar exam.”
When asked if she had any complaints, Griner said: “No, no complaints. Just waiting patiently.”
Brittney Griner tells ABC News she wants to wish her wife, Cherelle Griner, “good luck on the bar exam,” as the WNBA star’s drug trial in Russia resumes. @maggierulli reports. https://t.co/qbNJaDaFVX pic.twitter.com/qBBqpKfdqT
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 26, 2022
Griner previously sent a letter to the White House asking President Joe Biden for his support in her release. Biden pledged his support, saying Griner “is wrongfully detained in Russia under intolerable circumstances.”
(Photo: Barry Gossage / NBAE via Getty Images)