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Griner Claims Medical OK for Cannabis

FILE: WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner is escorted to a courtroom for a hearing, in Khimki just outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, taken 7.7.2022

US basketball star Brittney Griner standing trial in Russia on drug charges, had permission from a US doctor to use medicinal cannabis, her lawyers said in court on Friday.

The defense team said in court that she had "chronic pains" from sports injuries and received a permission slip from a US doctor this year to use cannabis for medicinal reasons to relieve the pain.

"She is tired," her lawyer, Alexander Boykov, told reporters after the hearing.

The defense team also provided documents to prove her achievements in basketball and contribution to charities.

Griner was detained at a Moscow airport in February, just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, and charged with drug smuggling for possessing vape cartridges with cannabis oil.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist pleaded guilty and faces up to 10 years in a Russian prison.

Griner was detained while returning to play basketball for UMMC Ekaterinburg, a team in the Russian Premier League.

A day earlier, her Russian team praised her contribution to basketball in the country.

The captain of the UMMC Ekaterinburg team she played for, Yevgenia Belyakova said the team "misses" her.

Griner's plight has been linked to the freeze of relations between Moscow and Washington since President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden has spoken to the star's family, saying he will make it a "priority" to bring her home.