Biden says he’s ‘hopeful’ Brittney Griner will be freed

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Biden says he's 'hopeful' Brittney Griner will be freed

President Biden said Friday that he’s “hopeful” that Russia will free women’s basketball star Brittney Griner, who received a nine-year prison sentence Thursday for marijuana possession.

“I’m hopeful. We’re working hard,” said Biden, whose administration has reportedly floated swapping notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner and fellow jailed American Paul Whelan, who Russia alleges was working as a spy.

Griner pleaded guilty last month to possessing a small amount of cannabis oil when she was detained at a Moscow’s airport in February. She said that she was packing in haste and forgot it was there.

Biden is an opponent of marijuana legalization and as a senator authored legislation that sent some pot dealers to prison for life without parole. Last year, the White House fired at least five staffers who admitted to past pot use.

Outgoing President Donald Trump last year commuted the sentences of seven people serving life terms for marijuana — including two men who were given life without parole under the three-strikes provision of the Biden-authored 1994 crime law.

Marijuana is legal for medical or recreational use under state law in most parts of the US, but American authorities still arrested more than 350,000 people in 2020 for pot offenses, according to FBI data.

Presiden Biden said he is "hopeful" that Russia will free basketball star Brittney Griner after she was sentenced to nine years in prison for marijuana possession.
Presiden Biden said he is “hopeful” that Russia will free basketball star Brittney Griner after she was sentenced to nine years in prison for marijuana possession.
Photo by EVAN VUCCI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Biden said his administration is "working hard" on getting Griner out of Russian prison.
Biden said his administration is “working hard” on getting Griner out of Russian prison.
Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images

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