In February, Brittney Griner was arrested at the Moscow airport after customs officials found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She now faces up to 10 years in prison if she is convicted of transporting the drugs.
Though she did plead guilty last week, the trial isn’t over yet.
Griner’s acknowledged possessing the canisters but claimed she had no criminal intent. She said she was rushing when packing and didn’t think about it. The WNBA star plays in Russia often as WNBA players’ salary is significantly low compared to NBA players.
Griner’s trial lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, revealed during Friday’s trial that the basketball player had a U.S. doctor’s letter recommending she use medical cannabis to treat pain.
“The attending physician gave Brittney recommendations for the use of medical cannabis.”
She adds, “The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Department of Health.”
To be clear, medical marijuana is not legal in Russia. And just because Griner pleaded guilty, it doesn’t automatically mean the trial will end. The prosecution will primarily focus on Griner’s character and career as an athlete.
The next hearing is scheduled for July 26.