Haymaker is Leafly Editor-in-Chief Bruce Barcot’s opinion column on cannabis news and culture.
Tomorrow marks the first full month of WNBA All-Star Britney Grenier’s imprisonment in Russia. Unfortunately, it may not be the last month she spent behind bars.
With each passing day, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grows bloodier, hostilities between the United States and Russia become more sinister, and Greiner’s path to freedom becomes more difficult to imagine.
Meanwhile, the US media’s coverage of Greiner began to coalesce around the story of being caught in the trap of the innocent. CNN She recently described her arrest as “the most audacious hostage-taking by a country imaginable”. The Washington Post Quoting a former US ambassador to Poland, he noted that the two-time Olympic champion “could have been framed and targeted for the crime.”
“It would be like the Russians doing it,” he added.
Could it have been Russian officials who monumented Greiner? certainly. It is known that countries hostile to the United States Framing the Americans’ visit To gain political influence. But these victims are usually journalists or religious missionaries, and they are a nuisance in the eyes of the state. Griner is a sports star who plays in the pride team of Russian basketball. In three of the past five seasons, Griner has led UMMC Ekaterinburg to Euroleague Women’s Championship.
The national media needs to get the WNBA star off cannabis in order to defend her. This is the old stigma in the drug war.
So it is strange to see these American media outlets bending backwards to portray Greiner as a victim of the state’s evasion. There is an unspoken assumption in their reports that Greiner, a seasoned professional athlete, would never dream of using or traveling with vape cartridges. It’s as if CNN, Washington Post, and ESPN need to separate Griner from cannabis in order to defend it.
Here’s what almost no one talks about: It’s a real possibility that Griner owns the vapes the Russians claim they found in her luggage. But to entertain the idea he is seen as a traitor, playing for the Russians, and tarnishing the reputation of the basketball champ and social justice.
And that, my friends, is an old-fashioned stain on the drug war.
Professional athletes eager to embrace cannabis, but are the leagues listening?
Britney Grenier’s latest case
News of Grenier’s arrest first leaked on March 5. But later reports indicate that she was initially detained by agents of the Russian Federal Customs Service at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on February 17, one week before Russian forces invaded Ukraine.
According to a statement issued by the Russian Customs Service, that The New York Times, claimed that an examination of Griner’s luggage “confirmed the presence of vapes with a special liquid smell, and an expert determined that the liquid was cannabis oil (cannabis oil), which is a narcotic.” In Russia, bringing cannabis oil into the country is a crime punishable by 10 years in prison.
Griner advocates are working behind the scenes to secure her release. Representative Colin Allred, a Texas congressman, has been in contact with State Department officials. (Greiner grew up in Houston and attended college at Baylor University in Waco.) Representative Sheila Lee, who represents Houston, raised Greiner’s case with President Biden earlier this week. But with US and NATO officials scrambling to help Ukraine — with World War Three still not breaking out — the plight of a single American caught in a weed-down incident on the border may not be the first priority in the Oval Office.
There are many angles to this story
There are so many dynamics in Griner’s case that it’s hard to know where to begin. There’s the fact that top players like Griner, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird can earn four times their WNBA salaries by performing in the off-season for Russian teams — some of which are owned by Vladimir Putin’s oligarchs.
There is a difficult situation for a player like Griner, an outspoken defender of LGBTQ rights, who lives and works in a country that prohibits “advertising of non-traditional sexual relations”. Under the nebulous cloak of this cruel law, Greiner’s marriage to his wife Cheryl might be considered a criminal act.
There is also the current geopolitical conflict over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has effectively trapped Griner behind enemy lines at the worst possible moment.
All of these angles are addressed — by CNN, by The Post, by national sports platforms and local Texas TV news stations.
Do you know what has not been eaten? cannabis;
Fact: Professional athletes use cannabis
See, we all see the world through the lens of our interests and experiences. The Washington Post looks at Brittany Greiner and sees politics. ESPN looks at Griner and sees the sport. Leafly is a professional athlete who, like many others, may use cannabis to manage her mental and physical health.
But why are we the only outlet to consider cannabis?
seriously. On our website and podcast, Josiah Hessian, author of a book on athletes who use cannabis, wrote that upwards of 80% to 90% of athletes in some sports use cannabis before, after, and sometimes during competition. Former Denver Nuggets star Kenyon Martin once estimated that 85% of NBA players use cannabis. Hess has found that athletes use cannabis for rest, recovery, and maintenance of their mental and physical health over the course of a tough work season. Many are turning to cannabis to protect their health from the damage of opioids or other liver-damaging drugs.
Why do we assume WNBA players are different?
Britney Greiner is not alone: This is why professional athletes use cannabis
Life in a legal state
Keep this in mind. Britney Greiner lives and works most of the year in Phoenix, Arizona. Last fall, Phoenix escorted Mercury to WNBA FinalsThey lost to Chicago Sky. Those long finals came after a year in which I had a difficult Euroleague season with the Covid team of Yekaterinburg, then Won the gold medal With Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics. The year before, Griner pulled out of the WNBA’s Covid bubble in order to tackle it Her physical and mental health problems.
In Arizona, cannabis products have been legal for all adults since January 2021. Is it crazy to imagine that they might find some mental or physical relief with legal cannabis? Honestly, it’s crazy to imagine that she didn’t.
Those of us who enjoy cannabis in legal states know many things that people living in ban states do not. We know it’s easy to forget how insanely illegal cannabis is in other states and countries – because in a legal state, cannabis is just as mundane as beer, wine or Advil.
In most states, TSA agents at the airport don’t check for cannabis anymore. If Greiner kept a couple of vape cartridges in her toiletry kit along with a toothbrush, tweezers, and ibuprofen — like a regular adult — while traveling to games away during a WNBA season, she might have out of her mind that crossing international borders with that same kit could to land her in jail.
Are you flying with CBD? TSA says it’s great
that happens. It happened to my friends. It happened to me once, years ago. As my fellow passengers were preparing to land in Toronto, I remembered a handful of gum stashed in my bag to help me sleep on the plane. The result: your man enjoyed a quiet walk during 416th that afternoon.
This is what confuses those of us who live in legitimate states and states. ban cannabis Does not make sense. Millions of people – including professional athletes – are healthy every day.
Good people and great athletes smoke marijuana
However, when that enjoyment comes out into the light of day, organizations like CNN, Washington Post, and ESPN walk away — and worse. One “expert” quoted by CNN coined the e-cigarette cart charge as defamatory. “This is being reported as if people are taking these allegations seriously,” he said. “I think it would be a huge mistake to report these allegations as if they were true or even potentially true.”
In other words, to consider the possibility that Britney Greiner might actually carry a few vapes on a business trip is to discredit her and play into the hands of these filthy Russians.
The basis for this view is the basis of stigma. As cannabis-obsessed Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s first attorney general, Once you put it: “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
If nothing else, Britney Grenier’s unfortunate predicament might help some Americans wake up to the truth: Good people smoke marijuana.
I’ll go further. Millions of good people – and great athletes – enjoy marijuana. So do people who may not be very good. And you know what? Bad guys shouldn’t be thrown in jail for using marijuana either. Let’s stand up for Britney Grenier And the cannabis; Because no one deserves to be arrested for taking care of his health or bringing more joy into his life.