Geopolitics and domestic politics clash over cannabis legalization

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As the White House continues to insist that Brittney Griner is “wrongfully detained” even after pleading guilty to entering a Moscow airport on February 17 with cannabis oil in her suitcase, the The Biden administration clings firmly to its anti-legalization stance here in the United States, which has not gone unnoticed by Russia or quite possibly the millions of Americans who will soon vote midterm.

This point was underscored when a Russian Foreign Ministry official noted that possession of cannabis was “punishable in some US states”, thus undermining Griner’s case while overexposing American hypocrisy.

Ironically – and despite overwhelming public support for ending the criminalization of cannabis – the draconian Russian laws that led to Griner’s detention are similar to ours. After all, cannabis remains a Schedule I drug in the United States. This means that under federal drug trafficking guidelines, any U.S. citizen could face jail time for stealing with hash oil,” wrote Sarah Gersten, executive director and general counsel of the Last Prisoner Project in USA Today. “This is not a hypothetical situation. More than 100,000 Americans languish in pretrial detention for drug trafficking. And, like Griner in Russia, non-US citizens are routinely prosecuted under our tough drug laws for crossing our border with cannabis.

Speaking of draconian lawsunder the Russian legal system, the conviction rate is over 97%.

Then there is this: “We have to remember that Brittney is being held by a country that is actively hostile to the United States, but has also invaded Ukraine. And we are one of Ukraine’s biggest military and financial supporters. You can’t take it out of that context,” he added. said Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania studying black experiences in Russia and Ukraine.

That being so, one wonders what the White House has in mind. Or Russia for that matter. The most prevalent scenario in this precarious geopolitical moment involves a prisoner swap.

The Kremlin, at least the chatter, showed interest in gushing Victor Bout, an international arms dealer also known as the “Dealer of Death”, who is serving a 25-year sentence in a US prison. Even if that were to be the case, many experts said the process could drag on for years.

Griner’s trial resumes July 14.

Benzinga photo by David Lineamann on Wiki Commons

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