White House Actively Investigating Another Marijuana Case In Russia Involving U.S. Citizen

White House Actively Investigating Another Marijuana Case In Russia Involving U.S. Citizen
MJ moment

The White House says it is actively looking into another case of a U.S. citizen who is being held in Russia over a marijuana-related offense to see if the administration can secure his release. While there’s been ample coverage of WNBA star Brittney Griner’s arrest in Russia over possession of vape cartridges that contained cannabis oil, which she recently pleaded guilty to, a reporter pressed a senior White House official on Monday about a “very similar” situation that American teacher Mark Fogel has found himself in. Fogel was arrested in Russia in August 2021 after authorities allegedly found about 17 grams of marijuana concealed in his lugged. A court sentenced him to 14 years in prison earlier this year, describing the offense as “large-scale” smuggling. Like Griner, Fogel says that he’s a medical cannabis patient in the U.S.—but that apparently has not earned him leniency in the Russian judicial system. Unlike Griner, however, Fogel has not been classified by the State Department as a “wrongfully detained” person, which typically escalates diplomatic engagement to secure their release. Fogel also formerly worked as staff at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which could have entitled him to diplomatic immunity at the time. At a Monday briefing that centered around a new Biden executive order on bringing American hostages back to the U.S. and wrongful detention policy, a reporter asked senior administration officials why the cases were being classified differently given that Fogel’s “conviction is for medical marijuana, and it seems very similar to the Griner case,” according to a White House transcript of the call. The first unnamed official to reply said that they wouldn’t comment on the specific case because it’s ongoing and referred the journalist to the Levinson Act, which is the standard upon which “wrongful detention” designations are made. As…

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Source : White House Actively Investigating Another Marijuana Case In Russia Involving U.S. Citizen

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