A lawyer for Brittney Griner told a Russian court on Friday, the Phoenix Mercury player was prescribed medical cannabis by a doctor in the United States to treat chronic pain.
“The attending physician gave Brittney recommendations for the use of medical cannabis,” her lawyer, Maria Blagovolina said, according to the Associated Press. “The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Department of Health.”
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested at Moscow Airport on Feb. 17, after Russian officials said vape cartridges with hashish oil were found inside her luggage. She had traveled to Russia to play in the off-season and make extra money.
On July 7, she pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling charges in a Russian court, but said “there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law.”
She faces up to 10 years in prison.
In May, the U.S. government said Griner had been “wrongfully detained” by Russian authorities.
Activists believe the American is being used as a political pawn by Russia as it faces global condemnation for its invasion of Ukraine.
The White House issued a statement earlier this month saying President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris had spoken by phone to Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner. The statement also mentioned Paul Whelan, a U.S. citizen and former Marine, who has been imprisoned in Russia since 2018 on espionage charges.
“The President called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world,” the statement said.
Griner’s next court hearing in Russia is scheduled for July 26.