American basketball star, Brittney Griner, has submitted a prescription for medicinal cannabis as part of the written evidence put forward in her defence at her trial on drug charges in Khimki, near Moscow.
Arrested in February for possessing vape liquid containing cannabis oil on her arrival in Russia, she faces a possible ten years in prison. Ms Griner has pleaded guilty, but told that court that inclusion of the cartridges in her packing was an accident.
The prescription was written by a doctor in Arizona, and was to treat pain. Ms Griner’s lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, commented after the hearing last Friday, “The attending physician gave Brittney recommendations for the use of medical cannabis. The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Department of Health.”
The case has been adjourned until Tuesday 26 July, to allow the defence more time to prepare. Press speculation continues about a possible prisoner swap, perhaps for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is serving a prison sentence in the US.
According to the independent Russian news agency, Interfax, on Thursday 14 July Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov commented that the Kremlin never discusses details of prisoner exchanges: “We never discuss aspects of swaps,” Peskov told journalists, when asked whether “the Kremlin would like to swap her [Griner].”
According to Interfax, when asked whether a possible swap now looks more problematic as “the relationship between Russia and the US has worsened after the start of the special military operation,” Peskov replied, “The relationship has worsened indeed.”