Cannabis News Week: Brittney Griner Caught in the Middle

Cannabis News Week: Brittney Griner Caught in the Middle

While Russia continues its war on Ukraine, the Russian legal system is aiding its country’s political dispute with the U.S. by detaining Brittney Griner. 

When Brittney’s plane landed at a Moscow airport in February — she was going to play in the country during the WNBA’s off season — she landed into what would become the latest international conflict between the two 20th century adversaries. 

This week, a Russian court threw the book at Brittney, sentencing the WNBA star to nine years in prison, on the heavy end of its laws’ sentencing guidance.

Article 228 of the Russian Criminal Code states that possession of “large amounts” of drugs is punishable by a prison term between three and 10 years with a possible 500,000 ruble ($8,261) fine.

She had, Vice reports, less than a gram of hashish oil in her possession.

If Brittney had been convicted of carrying a “significant amount” of drugs the punishment guidelines were for up to three years in prison. 

More than 1 in 5 prisoners in the Russian Federation in 2019 were imprisoned for drug law offenses. 

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Meanwhile, the U.S. government says that Brittney, who plays for the Phoenix Mercury, is being detained wrongfully. 

U.S. President Joe Biden said the sentencing “is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney.”

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan [who is serving a 16-year sentence over alleged espionage in Russia] home safely as soon as possible,” Biden said.

CNN reports that the two sides are prepared to discuss a prisoner swap. 

Canopy Growth Swings to Loss

Shares of Canopy Growth  (CGC) – Get Canopy Growth Corporation Report dropped Friday after the Smith Falls, Ontario, cannabis company swung to a first-quarter loss from a year-earlier profit

Canopy Growth had a C$2.09 billion (US$1.62 billion) loss in the quarter against a year-earlier profit of C$392.4 million. Net revenue of C$110.1 million declined 19% year over year and missed analyst estimates of $113 million. The loss of C$5.23 a share was weaker than analyst estimates of a loss of 29 cents a share. 

Canopy still has high hopes for the U.S. market. 

“As our U.S. THC ecosystem continues to strengthen with Acreage operating in the recreational cannabis market in New Jersey, along with the expansion of Wana across North America, we remain focused on delivering a robust pipeline of innovation aligned to what consumers are looking for – premium, infused, and ready to enjoy,” Chief Executive David Klein said. 

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