The Scary Facts About US Athlete Detained In Russia On Cannabis Charges

Two-time Olympic champ and WNBA star center for the Phoenix Mercury, Brittney Griner, hasactually been apprehended and apprehended by Russian customizeds authorities, who pointout the finding of “vape cartridges consistingof hashish oil” in her baggage while she was takingatrip through an airport near Moscow. Although it simply hit the news a couple days ago, Griner hasactually been apprehended for nearly 1 month now and she dealswith up to 10 years in jail if discovered guilty on trumped-up charges of “drug smuggling”.  

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Who is Brittney Griner and why was she in Russia? 

Brittney Griner is a 31-year-old expert basketball gamer in the United States. She’s one of most popular and highest-scoring gamers in the WNBA. Griner is a seven-time All Star who has won 2 Olympic gold medals with the UnitedStates, a WNBA champion with the Mercury, and a nationwide champion at Baylor University in Texas. 

Why Griner was even in Russia to start with highlights the huge payment variation inbetween the WNBA and the NBA. Now, priorto we chock it up to absolutelynothing however outright sexism, the thinking is alittle more complex than that. As with generally all significant markets, it all boils down to success. The NBA produces an average of $9.2 billion in yearly income by selling tickets and product, whereas the WNBA just pulls in about $75 million each year. Average incomes show this, with male gamers earning a income of around $6.4 million and woman gamers getting about $78,000 on average. 

The part where income distinctions infact do endupbeing rather prejudiced, is in the method incomes are distributed. NBA gamers get to keep 50 percent of created earnings while WNBA gamers just get to keep about 20 percent. It’s not always reasonable, however the truth of the matter is, the bulk of individuals who watch sports are guys, and they would rather watch other males play. Men are likewise more mostlikely to buy jerseys, hats, hoodies, and other product with group logodesigns than females.  

Because of these earnings inequalities, numerous WNBA gamers travel to other nations and play on their groups throughout the UnitedStates off season, and Russia is one of the more popular locations for this. In Russia, WNBA gamers can quickly rake in over $1 million, and this is on top of their UnitedStates wages. Griner hasactually been playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg since 2015, assisting her Russian group make 3 domestic titles and 4 EuroLeague Women champions.  

The arrest  

Having stated all that, let’s focus onceagain on the arrest. Russian authorities launched a declaration on Saturday, March 5th, that they had apprehended an “American basketball gamer” on drug charges. It wasn’t upuntil lateron when the story hadactually been selected up by media outlets that the professionalathlete was determined as Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner. The Russian Federal Customs Service stated they had apprehended Brittney after drug canines smelled out some cannabis oil vape carts in her baggage at Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow. 

The video launched by Russia’s Customs Service revealed video of a tourist (Brittney Griner) strolling through the airport security screening location, and then somebody analyzing a bundle quickly after which was gotridof from her bag. Based on the video timestamps, this occurred back in February, significance that Brittney hasactually been in custody for a coupleof weeks currently. View the readilyavailable videofootage listedbelow. 

WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner was detained in Russia last month at a Moscow airport after a search of her baggage exposed vape cartridges. Footage launched Saturday reveals the WNBA star going through security at a Moscow airport, and her luggage being searched. pic.twitter.com/Tuubab8Oko

— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 6, 2022

In a declaration to the Guardian, Griner’s representative Lindsay Colas stated: “We are conscious of the circumstance with Brittney Griner in Russia and are in close contact with her, her legal representation in Russia, her household, her groups, and the WNBA and NBA.” 

The Customs Service specified that a “criminal case hadactually been opened into the massive transport of drugs”, which brings a sentence of up to 10 years in jail if foundedguilty. This is not the veryfirst time an American hasactually been detained in Russia for specious charges, however the existing state of affairs makes this circumstance especially questionable, even for somebody who has a effective athletic profession in the nation.  

Cannabis laws in Russia  

To rapidly sumup marijuana laws in Russia – it’s unlawful. However, comparable to numerous other nations and even UnitedStates states, little quantities of item haveactually been legalized for individual usage consideringthat2004 In Russia, it’s up to 6 grams of flower or 2 grams of hash. Decriminalization in Russia indicates this would be dealtwith merely as an administrative offense, punishable however a fine or up to 15 days in prison.  

This is all laidout in Article 228 of the Russian Criminal Code. Though this doesn’t certify for decriminalization by technical requirements utilized in other locations, it does lessen the legal effects for those who are utilizing marijuana personally. Anything over the above noted amounts would subject a individual to criminal prosecution. 

So if you were questioning why on earth anybody would travel to Russia with vape carts, it’s mostlikely duetothefactthat Griner has been takingatrip there for nearly a years at this point, and was familiar with the reality that the nation had legalized a couple grams of concentrate. I couldn’t discover it mentioned anywhere how much marijuana oil she was captured with, and it’s tough to state what the specifics are on THC oils consideringthat that is a various item from hash.   

Is Brittney in threat? 

Politicians, fellow professionalathletes, activists, and buddies of Brittney’s are calling for her release amidst growing fears that Vladimir Putin might usage her as a pawn for takeadvantageof throughout the continuous war in Ukraine and as stress with Russia and the rest of the world continue to heighten. Texas congresswoman, Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents Griner’s hometown of Houston, had this to state on the matter: 

“We understand that there were some problems dealing with vape cartridges and other products however let me be really clear, Brittney Griner is a United States resident, she was a visitor in Russia … and I will be requiring her release.” 

shutterstock 2125696427

Again, some worry that the scenario might endupbeing even more filled for Brittney, like previous UnitedStates deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia and Ukraine Evelyn Farkas. “If we desire her out of prison, Russia is going to have some terms,” stated Farkas. “It might be a detainee swap. They likewise might usage it as an implicit risk or blackmail to get us to do something or not do something. Either method, they discover it helpful.” 

Knowing what we understand about Brittney (high profile UnitedStates resident, African-American, female, queer), and understanding what we understand about Russia (hostile, presently involved in global dispute, federalgovernment that is understood to devote numerous human rights offenses versus minorities, LGBTQ, and females), it’s within factor to presume that Brittney may be in a hazardous scenario as we speak.  

For example, in an interview with BBC, many individuals of color living in Russia explained how they were dealtwith on a routine basis – which varied from casual bigotry to physical attacks and systemic problems that effect different quality-of-life elements. Examples consistof being disallowed from some leasing homes and tasks, rejected entry into diningestablishments and other organizations, racial slurs, and so on. The circumstance with bigotry can be particularly dicey for those who haveactually been detained, apprehended, or jailed. 

Now, let’s takealookat how women are frequently dealtwith in Russia. In 2017, a law was passed that legalized veryfirst offenses of domestic battery and in 2018, the Russian federalgovernment stats company taped a overall of 8,300 ladies killed in the nation. That comes out to an average of 22 per day. And the scenario is stated to haveactually grown evenworse consideringthat the pandemic started. Compare that to the UK typical of one lady eliminated every 3 days, and you recognize how huge a issue this is. Efforts to secure Russian females are frequently seen by conservative legislators as “an violation on the rights of the household”. 

Add to all this, Brittney is a lesbian, and Russia is understood to have some of the strictest anti-LGBTQ laws in the whole world. In Russia, gay maritalrelationship is prohibited, however it goes even evenmore than that. Many residents are not open to those in the LGBTQ neighborhood, mentioning that they would not accept them as next-doorneighbors or associates and feel they are a risk to conventional methods of life. LGBTQ individuals living in Russia face routine threats, bullying, physical and sexual abuse, abuse within their households, and discrimination in day-to-day life. The 2013 “gay propaganda” law hasactually increased that social hostility significantly. 

“It taking 3 weeks for Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia to hit the news here is ridiculous and terrible in a method that’s tough to comprehend. Russia has some of the most anti-LGBTQ laws amongst significant countries. It cannot be overemphasized the risk she’s in right now.” – Charlotte Clymer, American activist, press secretary, and author, stated on Twitter.

It taking 3 weeks for Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia to hit the news here is unreasonable and terrible in a method that’s tough to comprehend.

Russia has some of the most anti-LGBTQ laws amongst significant countries.

It cannot be overemphasized the threat she’s in right now.

— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️‍⚧️🇺CHELOR’SDEGREE🇦 (@cmclymer) March 5, 2022

Final ideas  

Although these groups are mainly underrepresented, ladies, minorities, and LGBTQ have all played essential functions making the marijuana market what it is today. Despite the lotsof historic and political resemblances, there is extremely littlebit conversation relatingto the ties inbetween all of these groups and the battle to legislate marijuana in the UnitedStates. They are likewise frequently the individuals who suffer most from restriction and the war on drugs. 

Even throughout calmer times, the environment in Russia can be a bit tense – specifically real if you are a female, minority, or LGBTQ; and all 3 are appropriate in Brittney Griner’s case. Not to reference that Brittney is a prominent detainee being held throughout a duration of excellent political turbulence, making her circumstance all the more alarming. The value of bringing Brittney house cannot be highlighted enough.  

Colas, Griner’s representative, stated in her declaration, “As this is an continuous legal matter, we are not able to remark more on the specifics of her case however can validate that as we work to get her house, her psychological and physical health stay our main issue.” 


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