Elon Musk gives scalding take on Biden’s push to free Brittney Griner

Elon Musk questioned President Joe Biden’s ongoing effort to release WNBA star Brittney Griner from a Russian prison while thousands are locked up in the US for the same offense.

Griner was sentenced to nine years in Russia for cannabis possession and Musk noted others locked up on American soil aren’t getting the same attention from the White House.

“If the president is working so hard to free someone who is in jail in Russia for some weed, shouldn’t we free people in America?” the Tesla CEO asked on an episode of the “Full Send” podcast this week.

“There are people in jail in America for the same stuff. Shouldn’t we free them too? My opinion is that people should not be in jail for non-violent drug crimes.”

Biden said Friday his administration is “working hard” and is “hopeful” to get Griner back in negotiations with Russia. His administration has considered the possibility of swapping Griner for notorious arms dealer Viktor Grout — also known as the “Merchant of Death.”

Marijuana possession is still illegal at the federal level, fully legalized for recreational use in 19 states and decriminalized in 18 others.

Griner pleaded guilty last month to possessing a small amount of cannabis oil when she was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February. She was convicted of cannabis possession and drug smuggling and in addition to her nine-year prison sentence was fined about $16,200.

According to an ACLU report, there were nearly 700,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2018 — the last year data is available. That accounts for 43.2% of all drug arrests, significantly more arrests than any other drug — and more than all violent crime combined, the report found.

Musk claimed not to be a regular marijuana user himself, saying he thinks marijuana is “not that good for productivity.” 

WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner reacts as she hears the verdict of her sentencing in Moscow on Aug. 4, 2022.
AP

But the world’s richest human also recently said that he and employees at his space exploration company SpaceX were federally required to take drug tests for a whole year following a viral, pot-fueled appearance by Musk on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2018.

He said on “Full Send” that he needed to prove to the government that he wasn’t an addict after taking “one puff” during his interview with Rogan four years ago, shot in California, where marijuana was legal at the time.

“I did get a lot of backlash because it’s still federally illegal,” he said.

“SpaceX has federal government contracts, so our competitors were like ‘Why aren’t you doing anything? Look at him brazenly smoking weed on Joe Rogan’s podcast,’” Musk said. 

The bombshell puff sent Tesla stocks briefly spiraling, dropping as much as 9%. The steep stock fall prompted Musk to reassure investors that he was not an addict, he said.