Elon Musk Sounds Off on President Biden’s Efforts to Release Brittney Griner From Russian Prison

by Sean Griffin

Elon Musk recently weighed in on Joe Biden‘s efforts to release WNBA Brittney Griner from a Russian prison. Musk seemed to be critical of the move because thousands of people are locked up in the US for crimes along the same lines.

Griner received a sentence of nine years in Russia for cannabis possession. Musk noted many on American soil aren’t getting the same attention or care from the White House for being locked up for the same offense.

“If the president is working so hard to free someone who is in jail in Russia for some weed, shouldn’t we free people in America?” the Tesla CEO asked on an episode of the Full Send podcast this week.

“There are people in jail in America for the same stuff. Shouldn’t we free them too?” He said he believes people should not be jailed for nonviolent drug crimes.

Biden said last week that his administration continues to “work hard” and hopes to get Griner back in negotiations with Russia. His administration considered potentially swapping Griner for notorious arms dealer Viktor Grout — also known as the “Merchant of Death.”

Marijuana possession remains illegal at the federal level. It remains fully legalized for recreational use in 19 states and decriminalized in 18 others.

Griner pleaded guilty last month to possessing a small amount of cannabis oil when she was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February. Then, she was convicted of cannabis possession and drug smuggling. Additionally, she received a $16,2000 fine along with her nine-year prison sentence.

Elon Musk Comments on the Situation

According to an ACLU report, there were nearly 700,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2018 — the last year data remains available. That accounts for 43.2% of all drug arrests, significantly more arrests than any other drug.

Elon Musk claimed not to be a regular marijuana user himself. He said he thinks marijuana is “not that good for productivity.” 

Musk said that he and employees at his space exploration company SpaceX became federally required to take drug tests for a whole year. This mandate came in the aftermath of a viral, pot-fueled appearance by Musk on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2018.

He said on Full Send that he needed to prove to the government that he didn’t regularly use marijuana. During his interview with Rogan four years ago, shot in California, he smoked a joint. Marijuana remains legal there.

“I did get a lot of backlash because it’s still federally illegal,” he said.

He continued. “SpaceX has federal government contracts, so our competitors were like ‘Why aren’t you doing anything? Look at him brazenly smoking weed on Joe Rogan’s podcast,’” Musk said. 

The bombshell statement sent Tesla stocks briefly spiraling, as normal after an Elon Musk podcast appearance. It dropped as much as 9%. The steep stock fall prompted Musk to reassure investors that he was not an addict, he said.