December 7, 2022

A Russian court sentenced US citizen and WNBA player Britney Grenier to nine-and-a-half years in prison Thursday for smuggling cannabis oil into Russia in February.

This provision appears to comply with the applicable Russian Penal Code, which establishes criminal penalties for persons convicted of violating the country’s cannabis trading laws. code States That a person convicted of such an offense “may be sentenced to eight to twenty years in prison, or even life imprisonment if the offense was committed on a particularly large scale (for cannabis, this means more than 10 kg),” the CMS Advisory Service noted in a recent article. .

Russian law prohibits the use of cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes, according to an article titled “The Law and Legalization of Cannabis in Russia,” published by CMS in April 2021.

“Cannabis is on List I narcotic and psychoactive substances. The circulation of List I substances is subject to strict government control,” CMS wrote.

This statement is supported by a copy of the “Census of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors to be subject to control in the Russian Federation” published on the WTO website. The “first list” of the document includes Hemp (marijuana) [sic]. “

Associated Press

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Britney Grenier is escorted into the courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki outside Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 27, 2022. NBA star Britney Grenier returns Wednesday to a Russian courtroom to tie – out of trial on drug charges It could lead to a 10-year prison sentence if convicted. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool Photo via AP)

According to CMS, “Depending on certain circumstances, a violation of the rules for the circulation of cannabis may be punished under various articles of the Russian Criminal Code.”

The legal advisory source described in detail the criminal penalties that people convicted of violating the cannabis trading laws face in Russia, writing:

The manufacture, sale or delivery of narcotics, psychotropic substances or their analogues, or plants containing narcotic or psychotropic substances (including cannabis) is punishable by Article 228.1 of the Russian Criminal Code.

Depending on various factors (such as the size or weight of illegally produced or sold cannabis; whether the crime was committed by an individual or organized criminal group, etc.), a convicted person may be sentenced to twenty-eight years in prison. Imprisonment, or even life imprisonment if the crime was committed on a particularly large scale (for cannabis, this means more than 10 kg).

Garner’s sentence this week to 9.5 years in prison for “drug smuggling” does not appear to have deviated from Russia’s drug laws.

Moscow’s Khimki City Court found Grenier guilty of “drug smuggling” on August 4, according to Russia’s state-owned Tass news agency. mentioned.

“The court hereby finds the defendant guilty under Article 228.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal possession, storage, transportation or possession of drugs without intent to sell) and Article 229.1.2 of the Russian Criminal Code (significant drug smuggling),” Judge Anna said. Sotnikova.

Russian authorities arrested Greiner at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo-AS Pushkin International Airport on February 17 after airport officials found cannabis oil vaporizer pens in her luggage. Police at the airport arrested Grenier on suspicion of trying to smuggle drugs into Russia. Greiner Pledge Guilty of trying to smuggle drugs into Russia on July 7. However, Greiner said she put cannabis oil in her bag while she was rushing to pack her luggage and that she had “no criminal intent” to attempt to travel with the substance.

Greiner is a professional athlete and a current member of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Griner won gold medals in US women’s basketball at the 2014 and 2018 World Championships and at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games. Just before her arrest, Griner played for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg women’s basketball team.

Russian authorities recorded nearly 180,000 drug smuggling crimes nationwide in 2021, “which represents a decrease in the number of such crimes compared to the previous year,” Statista note On 1 March.

According to the statistics portal, “After a sharp decline in drug-related crimes in the country between 2000 and 2005, their number grew over the following decade, reaching 236.9 thousand in 2015”.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other monitoring groups have Criticize Russia’s strict penal code is too strict in setting long prison terms for convicted drug offenders.

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