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LeBron James Calls for Brittney Griner’s Release from Russian Prison

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NBA superstar LeBron James on Sunday called on the U.S. government to work to secure the release of WNBA champion and Olympic basketball gold medalist Brittney Griner, who has been held in a Russian prison on a cannabis possession charge for nearly four months.

“We need to come together and help do whatever we possibly can to bring BG home quickly and safely!! Our voice as athletes is stronger together,” James wrote on Twitter over the weekend.

James also shared a message from his brand Uninterrupted that calls on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to work for Griner’s release. The post also encouraged readers to learn more about the case online.

“For over 100 days, BG has faced inhumane conditions in a Russian prison and has been denied communications with her family and loved ones,” reads a message from Uninterrupted that was included in the social media post. “As a decorated Olympian and member of an elite global sport community, BG’s detention must be resolved out of respect for the sanctity of all sport and for all Americans traveling internationally. It is imperative that the U.S. Government immediately address this human rights issue and do whatever is necessary to return Brittney home.”

James also posted a link to an online petition hosted by Change.org that maintains that “Griner is a beloved global citizen who has used her platform since her entry into the WNBA to help others.” James encouraged fans to share and sign the petition, which had collected more than 250,000 signatures as of Tuesday.

Olympic and WNBA Superstar

Griner is a seven-time WNBA All-Star center who has played for the Phoenix Mercury since 2013, including the team’s 2014 league championship squad. She has also twice won the Olympic gold medal with the U.S. women’s basketball team.

Griner has played seven seasons of professional basketball in Russia during the winter, a common practice among WNBA players. She earns about $1 million per season to play in Russia, about four times the salary she earns playing for the WNBA. On January 29, Griner played her most recent game with her team UMMC Ekaterinburg before the Russian league took a two-week break for the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournaments.

The Russian Customs Service reported on March 5 that an American women’s basketball player had been detained after cannabis vape cartridges were discovered in her luggage at the Sheremetyevo airport near Moscow. The date of the arrest was not given and Griner was not named in the report. The customs also released a video that appeared to show Griner with security officials at an airport security checkpoint.

The Russian state news agency TASS subsequently reported that the arrested player was Griner. Although the date of Griner’s arrest was not announced, media outlets reported that she has been in custody since February 17. After news of the arrest made headlines, the WNBA and the players’ union issued messages of support for the star athlete.

“Brittney Griner has the WNBA’s full support, and our main priority is her swift and safe return to the United States,” the league wrote in a statement after Griner’s arrest was announced by Russian media.

Griner’s arrest by Russian authorities has led to an outcry from lawmakers, cannabis advocates, celebrities, and fellow athletes. Democratic Representative Colin Allred of Texas, the star athlete’s home state, said on March 9 that he was looking into Griner’s arrest.

“My office has been in touch with the State Department, and we’re working with them to see what is the best way forward,” said Allred, as quoted by ESPN. “I know the administration is working hard to try and get access to her and try to be helpful here. But obviously, it’s also happening in the context of really strained relations. I do think that it’s really unusual that we’ve not been granted access to her from our embassy and our consular services.”

A month after her arrest, Russian authorities announced that Griner’s detention would be extended for two months. TASS reported on March 17 that Griner was being held in an undisclosed Russian prison pending further investigation of the case. The news agency also said that Ekaterina Kalugina of the human rights group Public Monitoring Commission, a quasi-official body with access to Russian prisons, had visited Griner. Kalugina reported that Griner was doing well and being held in humane conditions.

In May, the U.S. Department of State reclassified Griner’s status, saying that she had been “wrongfully detained” by the Russian government.

“The Department of State has determined that the Russian Federation has wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Brittney Griner,” the State Department wrote in an email to ESPN. “With this determination, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens will lead the interagency team for securing Brittney Griner’s release.”

Since then, however, the status of Griner’s case has remained unchanged, prompting the renewed calls for her release from James on Sunday.

The post LeBron James Calls for Brittney Griner’s Release from Russian Prison appeared first on High Times.

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High Expectations: A Journey Through the Cannabis Expo in Johannesburg

Exploring the Cannabis Landscape in Johannesburg South Africa

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Embarking on a journey through the vibrant cannabis landscape at the Cannabis Expo in Johannesburg was nothing short of extraordinary. From groundbreaking innovations to the palpable enthusiasm in the air, the event left an indelible mark on every attendee.

The expo showcased a myriad of cutting-edge cannabis products, each a testament to the industry’s relentless pursuit of excellence. From revolutionary cultivation techniques to colorful consumption devices and mouth watering edibles on sale.

Navigating through the bustling crowd, I had the privilege of engaging with industry pioneers. Their insights into the cannabis market’s evolution were not only enlightening but also provided a glimpse into the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.

Amidst the booths and displays, I witnessed the beating heart of Johannesburg’s cannabis community. Passionate advocates, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts gathered to share their experiences, fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie.The expo was a melting pot of cultures and perspectives, a true reflection of the diverse tapestry that makes up South Africa’s cannabis community. From traditional rituals to modern practices, the event celebrated the rich heritage woven into the fabric of cannabis culture.

Embarking on a journey through the vibrant cannabis landscape at the Cannabis Expo in Johannesburg was nothing short of extraordinary. From groundbreaking innovations to the palpable enthusiasm in the air, the event left an indelible mark on every attendee.

The expo showcased a myriad of cutting-edge cannabis products, each a testament to the industry’s relentless pursuit of excellence. From revolutionary cultivation techniques to colorful consumption devices and mouth watering edibles on sale.

Navigating through the bustling crowd, I had the privilege of engaging with industry pioneers. Their insights into the cannabis market’s evolution were not only enlightening but also provided a glimpse into the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.

Amidst the booths and displays, I witnessed the beating heart of Johannesburg’s cannabis community. Passionate advocates, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts gathered to share their experiences, fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie.The expo was a melting pot of cultures and perspectives, a true reflection of the diverse tapestry that makes up South Africa’s cannabis community. From traditional rituals to modern practices, the event celebrated the rich heritage woven into the fabric of cannabis culture.

As the day unfolded, it became evident that the cannabis community in Johannesburg is not just an industry; it’s a movement. The call to action, echoed through the vibrant atmosphere, resonated with a shared goal — to uplift and support one another. I extend an invitation to join hands in supporting the cannabis movement. Your contribution can pave the way for more events, more innovations, and a future where cannabis is embraced and understood.

In conclusion, attending the Cannabis Expo in Johannesburg was an immersive experience, an odyssey through the present and future of a rapidly evolving industry. From groundbreaking innovations to the heartbeat of a united community, every moment underscored the significance of cannabis in South Africa’s cultural narrative. As we move forward, let’s continue to support and celebrate the boundless potential that lies within the cannabis community.

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Unleashing Creativity: Cannabis and Artistic Inspiration

Cannabis + Creativity doc shares stories of plant-infused artistry

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Cannabis, often synonymous with creativity, has served as a muse for countless artists, musicians, writers, and thinkers throughout the annals of history. This profound connection between cannabis and the arts is brilliantly illuminated in the recently released short documentary, “Cannabis + Creativity,” directed by Elana Frankel, with Kassia Graham serving as the assistant director

Poster by Dan Tashman

In this captivating film, a diverse array of artists representing various creative realms come together to dive deeper into the profound influence of the cannabis plant on their creative processes. The subjects range from accomplished composers and musicians to renowned poets and innovative designers. The documentary delves into both the personal and professional lives of these six visionary artists, offering an intimate glimpse into their unique creative methodologies, all while unravelling the profound impact that cannabis has on their artistic expression.

Within the short timeframe, viewers are treated to firsthand testimonials from each creator, as they generously invite us into their personal relationship with the plant. Whilst providing a window into their creative workflow as impacted by cannabis. Each individual brings their own fresh perspective, coupled with personal anecdotes, sharing stories of entrepreneurial journeys in the cannabis industry, or how they turn to cannabis-infused edibles to help them tap into their creative wellspring, slowing down the world to forge profound connections with their artistry.

Director Elana Frankel eloquently encapsulates the essence of the documentary, stating, “Can cannabis increase creativity? We embarked on a journey of discovery within our documentary, ‘Cannabis + Creativity.’ Through the lens of six individuals hailing from diverse backgrounds and professions, we set out to explore how this remarkable plant supports and fuels their creative lifestyles. They experiment, take risks, break rules, and most importantly, they have fun. In the end, they all share a common tool – cannabis – as a means to express themselves and bring their artistic visions to life.”

The intricate interplay between cannabis and creativity is a subject of enduring fascination. Cannabis documentaries have emerged as an invaluable medium, not only for educating but also entertaining audiences, shedding light on the multifaceted aspects of this versatile plant. So dive into this green frontier and be sure to include “Cannabis + Creativity” on your must-watch list

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The Prospect of Hemp in India

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The relationship of India with Cannabis dates back to 2000 BC when religious scholars called it one of the five sacred plants in ancient Vedas Texts. Still, the plant is illegal to use in many parts of the country except for research, medical purposes, and government-authorized premises. However, today, India is developing as one of the leaders working to revitalize the industrial hemp crop. It has changed the lives of millions of Indian farmers. This sustainable crop can be used in making over 25,000 products. These include medicine, textile, oil, food, and gas. 

China, on the other hand, is the largest producer of industrial hemp. It shares more than 20% of world production growing agro-economy crops. Even in America, there are 32 states that have legalized the cultivation of ‘Cannabis Sativa’, and Canada also established itself as the leading producer of hemp seeds for various uses. As the countries around the world are taking the initiative regarding hemp cultivation, India has also joined the race, working to revitalize the 12,000 years old hemp crop. 

Industrial Hemp- A Leader of Agro Economy

When it comes to cannabis plants or hemp, the first thought is to associate it with psychoactive drugs called Marijuana, which is not completely true. Industrial hemp has a long controversy of being linked with marijuana. However, the major thing to consider is -the amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is what makes marijuana a psychoactive drug. In hemp, Cannabidiol (CBD) has a more significant percentage as compared to the amount of THC, which makes it user-friendly. Moreover, this percentage doesn’t make it fall under narcotics, which is illegal. In the Hemp flower, the THC level is between 0.02% and 0.3% compared to the level in marijuana, which is 5% to 10%. According to 1985’s Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic substances Act, the cannabis plant with a lower THC level than 0.3% is legal for commercial cultivation. 

Perfect Areas for Hemp Cultivation

In India, the Ganges river basin is considered a perfect area for the cultivation of hemp. Any barren hilly region with water-scarce is considered a positive area for the cultivation of hemp. Hemp needs consistent moisture only during the establishment of germination and seedling. The average rainfall (annually) in India is between 300-650mm, which is appropriate for the cultivation of industrial hemp. As a tropical nation, India has an amazing photoperiod that is also beneficial for the growth of hemp. The best part about hemp crop cultivation is – it can be grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides. Moreover, it can be used in crop rotation to remove soil remediation, pesticide effects, weeding fields, and bioabsorption of containment and heavy metals. 

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, there are many benefits of hemp cultivation. It will increase GDP per capita and uplift the socio-economic level of the Indian farmers. Although India is trying to seek alternatives to conventional farming that involves pesticides and chemical fertilizers, Industrial hemp is moving ahead with organic farming and better sustainable agriculture practices. For Indian farmers, industrial has become a profitable and reliable source of income. However, it is yet to see what steps the government of India takes to get maximum benefits from this miraculous crop.

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