Should Russian officials arrest Brittney Griner for a cartridge


Kirill Kudryavtsev

With intentions to attend the Phoenix Mercury as starting center, Russian officials arrested Brittney Griner at the airport after trying to smuggle drugs across Russia’s airport in Moscow. Griner held 0.7 ounces of marijuana with no regard for following Russia’s drug laws. Griner currently battles her case in Russia to receive justice and come back home to play basketball again.

Malique Card, Reporter

Russian officials found eight-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner guilty of drug possession and smuggling drugs, on August 4 in Moscow after being arrested in February. During sentencing, Judge Anna Sotnikova found Griner guilty of breaking the law and fined her one million rubles (about $16,700). Sotnikova stated that the time Griner served in custody since her arrest would count towards the sentence. Aleksandr Darchiev, a high-ranked Russian diplomat, said that political negotiations with the United States were already underway; including a discussion of Russians held by the United States whose release Moscow seeks in order to secure Griner’s freedom.

“I can’t help but fear that Putin crafted this chaos with Griner, an American gold medalist, and is now stoking it to play with our emotions and to put the Biden Administration in a difficult position that divides our nation further. I pray for Brittney. She shouldn’t be a pawn,” author Adrienne Lawerence said.  

Malique Card

A 2019 incident in which a white American woman got caught with 19 grams of marijuana in Russia almost immediately resurfaced during the Brittney Griner sentencing. At the age of 19, Audrey Lorber served roughly two months in a Russian prison after officials found her guilty of smuggling 19 grams of Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) while on a family vacation. The drug laws remain the same since 2019, but Griner faced worse consequences than Lorber. Officials caught Griner with 0.7 ounces, while they caught Lorber with 19 grams of THC. The doctor allegedly prescribed Griner this drug, therefore officials should not penalize her.  The discrepancies behind the two cases remain unexplainable. In these two circumstances, Griner received nine years compared to Lorber with only two months. Russia also fined Griner 15,000 rubles, equivalent to about $375 American dollars. People question if this stems from Griner’s notoriety, fame, name, race, sexuality, or if she’s a representative of the WNBA. Regardless of the question, it does not make it right nor does it make sense.

When understanding Russia’s drug laws, one would see the possession of marijuana as illegal. If Griner knew and obeyed the laws, this incident would not happen. Russia also tried to use Griner as a pawn to demand what they want and to trade for her release. They should not have used Griner as a trade piece to require what Russia wants from the US.