Brittney Griner’s Lawyers Expand Upon Medical Cannabis Defense

by Bryan Fyalkowski

In Brittney Griner’s latest appearance in court, her lawyers continued their defense from July 15. It was then when Griner first mentioned that she has a prescription for medical cannabis to treat a “chronic injury.” She had previously applied for – and received – a permit in the state of Arizona, but she did not have it at the time of her arrest.

“We are not arguing that Brittney took it here as a medicine. We are still saying that she involuntarily brought it here because she was in a rush,” attorney Alexander Boykov said after today’s session, via ESPN. “The Russian public – and the Russian court – has to know that it was not used for recreational purposes in the United States. It was prescribed by a doctor.”

During Tuesday’s trial proceedings, a Russian neuropsychologist testified about the use of medicinal cannabis. It is far more common in the United States – and worldwide – than it is in Russia.

Griner had originally pleaded guilty on July 7, when she admitted she had “inadvertently” traveled with hashish oil.

“I’d like to plead guilty, your honor. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” Griner said at the time.

With her apologetic admission of guilt, Griner and her lawyers are hoping for the most lenient sentencing possible. The 31-year-old currently faces up to 10 years in prison under the charge of “large-scale transportation of drugs.” She was arrested at Sheremetyevo International Airport on February 17 with vaporizer cartridges in her luggage.

Brittney Griner Holds Up Photo of Wife and Sends Her a Message

In-between sessions at her Russian trial on Tuesday, Brittney Griner was able to speak with ABC News. She held up a photo of her wife, Cherelle, and had a message for her that she wanted to share:

“Good luck on the bar exam.”

Per Cherelle’s Instagram account, she graduated from law school in May. She recently shared a photo on June 29 and said she would be taking a break from social media until July 28, after she took her exam.

Griner and Cherelle Watson met while in college at Baylor. They linked up again when they both landed on the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury in 2013. Griner was married to Glory Johnson from 2015-to-2016, but then got divorced. She proposed to Cherelle in 2018 and they got married in 2019.