As a Russian prison sentence handed down this week to U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner over cannabis vapes generates international outrage, a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers is pushing the Biden administration to work to free a second American who is also incarcerated in the country over medical marijuana.
Griner, who was sentenced on Thursday to nine years in prison by a Russian court after pleading guilty to possessing vapes she said were recommended to her under Arizona’s medical cannabis law, has been deemed “wrongfully detained” by the U.S. government—an official status that gives her access to special diplomatic assistance. She is also part of a prisoner swap offer the Biden administration made, reportedly involving an arms trafficker that Russia wants freed.
But Marc Fogel, another U.S. citizen who was convicted for bringing what he also says was medical marijuana to Russia, has not been deemed to be “wrongfully detained” by his government, and he’s not part of the prisoner swap deal that’s been floated. He’s been sentenced to a 14-year sentence for just over half an ounce of cannabis.
On Wednesday, congressional lawmakers from Fogel’s home state of Pennsylvania sent a letter to “strongly urge” Secretary of
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