Elon Musk says the US should free 'people in jail for weed'

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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Elon Musk took to Twitter on Sunday to demand that the US begin freeing "people in jail for weed".

Per Insider, the billionaire's call came after President Biden's administration reportedly offered to release Viktor Bout, a former Soviet military officer accused of selling weapons to the Taliban, in exchange for WNBA star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

The offer made headlines after sources "briefed on the matter" reported the news to CNN.

Whelan is an ex-marine accused of espionage. He was arrested in Russia on December 28, 2018, and later sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Griner, an American professional basketball player, has been detained in Russia since February 2022 after vape cartridges containing hashish oil were discovered inside her luggage at customs.

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US basketball player Brittney Griner being escorted before a court hearing in Khimki, outside of Moscow, last month. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

Supporters of the two-time Olympic gold medalist believe she has been wrongfully detained, yet the Russian Foreign Ministry maintains that their laws should be respected.

So far, Russia has announced that the two countries have not yet reached a deal on releasing Griner, 31, and Whelan, 52, per Reuters.

In response to the trade, Musk tweeted, "maybe free some people in jail for weed here too?", and accompanied the tweet with a meme that read, "people in the US in jail for weed while the government trades a Russian war criminal to free a woman's basketball player in jail for weed."

The tweet garnered more than 370,000 likes, and many people replied with their own comments berating Biden's proposed prisoner exchange.

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Credit: Apex MediaWire / Alamy.

This is not the first time Elon Musk has been critical of America's drug laws. In 2020 he tweeted that it "doesn't make sense" and "isn't right" after many US states legalized the sale of marijuana, yet thousands of people remained in prison for cannabis-related offenses.

The Tesla CEO's comments reinforce damning US statistics on marijuana-related incarceration rates. A cannabis criminal reform organization, The Last Prisoner Project, has estimated that 15.7 million people have been arrested for marijuana-related offenses in the last 20 years.

Unfortunately, a 2020 report by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that Black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for these offenses than white individuals.

Russia also has an international reputation for not taking drug crime lightly. Griner is currently on trial in Khimki, Russia, for drug-smuggling charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years.

Her verdict and sentence are expected on Friday this week (July 5).

Featured image credit: UPI / Alamy

Elon Musk says the US should free 'people in jail for weed'

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

Elon Musk took to Twitter on Sunday to demand that the US begin freeing "people in jail for weed".

Per Insider, the billionaire's call came after President Biden's administration reportedly offered to release Viktor Bout, a former Soviet military officer accused of selling weapons to the Taliban, in exchange for WNBA star Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

The offer made headlines after sources "briefed on the matter" reported the news to CNN.

Whelan is an ex-marine accused of espionage. He was arrested in Russia on December 28, 2018, and later sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Griner, an American professional basketball player, has been detained in Russia since February 2022 after vape cartridges containing hashish oil were discovered inside her luggage at customs.

size-large wp-image-1263163830
US basketball player Brittney Griner being escorted before a court hearing in Khimki, outside of Moscow, last month. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

Supporters of the two-time Olympic gold medalist believe she has been wrongfully detained, yet the Russian Foreign Ministry maintains that their laws should be respected.

So far, Russia has announced that the two countries have not yet reached a deal on releasing Griner, 31, and Whelan, 52, per Reuters.

In response to the trade, Musk tweeted, "maybe free some people in jail for weed here too?", and accompanied the tweet with a meme that read, "people in the US in jail for weed while the government trades a Russian war criminal to free a woman's basketball player in jail for weed."

The tweet garnered more than 370,000 likes, and many people replied with their own comments berating Biden's proposed prisoner exchange.

size-large wp-image-1263156872
Credit: Apex MediaWire / Alamy.

This is not the first time Elon Musk has been critical of America's drug laws. In 2020 he tweeted that it "doesn't make sense" and "isn't right" after many US states legalized the sale of marijuana, yet thousands of people remained in prison for cannabis-related offenses.

The Tesla CEO's comments reinforce damning US statistics on marijuana-related incarceration rates. A cannabis criminal reform organization, The Last Prisoner Project, has estimated that 15.7 million people have been arrested for marijuana-related offenses in the last 20 years.

Unfortunately, a 2020 report by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that Black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for these offenses than white individuals.

Russia also has an international reputation for not taking drug crime lightly. Griner is currently on trial in Khimki, Russia, for drug-smuggling charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years.

Her verdict and sentence are expected on Friday this week (July 5).

Featured image credit: UPI / Alamy