It’s official: Brittany Griner is going to be in jail for a long time.
After a legal process that began in February, the Phoenix Mercury center will serve 9 ½ years in Russian prison and have to pay a $16,590 fine for possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil in them within the country.
Griner’s defense team argued that because Griner has a medical marijuana card from Arizona (she was permitted to smoke weed to cope with athletic injuries) she should not have to face her charges. But Russia does not permit anyone within the country to possess weed for any reason, which led to her charges. She was found with them on her person at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside of Moscow.
The Biden administration his offered Viktor Bout as a potential piece in a prisoner exchange for Griner and Paul Whelan, another American who is serving a 16-year sentence for espionage, but the Kremlin have yet to respond one way or another.
Griner was in Russia because she was playing with Russian female basketball club UMMC Ekaterinburg during the WNBA’s offseason.