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Elon Musk about Brittney Griner prisoner swap deal: ‘Maybe free people in jail for weed here too?’

Aug 2, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
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Musk also shared a meme that read: “People in the US in jail for weed while the government trades a Russian war criminal to free a woman’s basketball player in jail for weed.”

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Elon Musk has something to say about the situation involving WNBA star Brittney Griner, who is currently on trial in Russia for getting caught with cannabis vapes at an airport near Moscow.

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“Maybe free some people in jail for weed here too?” the co-founder of SpaceX and PayPal, CEO of Tesla and the now-reluctant suitor of Twitter tweeted this past weekend.

Griner, a WNBA champion and Olympic gold medalist, has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17 after being found with vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. She is entering another week of her trial.

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The Associated Press reported Aug. 2 that the basketball standout was back in court amid U.S. diplomatic efforts to secure her release. The trial was adjourned until this coming Thursday, when closing statements are scheduled, per AP.

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Reuters notes that Griner’s lawyer says her trial should be over “very soon.”

During the WNBA off-season, Griner played for a Russian women’s basketball team for several years.

Recreational cannabis is illegal in Russia. As for medicinal marijuana, law and tax consultants CMS reports that, too, is not permitted.

“Cannabis is included in List I of the narcotic and psychoactive substances. The circulation of substances included in List I is under the strictest governmental control,” the information notes. “The duly licensed governmental enterprises can use cannabis as a ‘raw material’ and reprocess it into another narcotic or psychoactive substance being under a less restrictive regime, but in any case, it is not possible to use cannabis as a medicine itself.”

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FILE: U.S. WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives at a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on June 27, 2022. /
FILE: U.S. WNBA basketball superstar Brittney Griner arrives at a hearing at the Khimki Court, outside Moscow on June 27, 2022. / Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images

Lawyers for Griner, who has pleaded guilty and faces as long as 10 years in prison if convicted, had argued that any cannabis vapes found were not for recreational use, but, rather, for medicinal purposes to treat her pain.

It was further argued that Griner had not intended to breach Russian law, according to Reuters.

CNN reported in late July that the Biden administration has offered a potential exchange of convicted Russian arms trafficker, who is currently serving a sentence in U.S. prison, with Griner and Paul Whelan, who is imprisoned in Russia on an espionage conviction.

Business Insider notes that although U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the U.S. made a “substantial proposal” to free two Americans, he did not confirm the arms dealer was part of the negotiations.

Musk issued his tweet about Griner’s situation, according to Marca, alongside a meme that post read: “People in the US in jail for weed while the government trades a Russian war criminal to free a woman’s basketball player in jail for weed.”

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The billionaire’s apparent views on jailing people for cannabis offences were mentioned as early as 2020. At that time, Marca notes that he tweeted as follows: “Selling weed literally went from major felony to essential business (open during pandemic) in much of America and yet many are still in prison, doesn’t make sense, isn’t right.”

In July, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.

Among other things, the proposed legislation “would end the harmful and out-of-touch federal prohibition on cannabis by removing cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and empowering states to implement their own cannabis laws.”

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