Home ETFs Elon Musk Shakes Up U.S.-Russia Talks Over Brittney Griner

Elon Musk Shakes Up U.S.-Russia Talks Over Brittney Griner

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Elon Musk Shakes Up U.S.-Russia Talks Over Brittney Griner



Elon Musk is a global CEO, weighing in on matters he considers urgent, acting as a kind of conscience for governments, and demanding that everyone pay attention.

For example, the richest man in the world has not ceased to remind Western countries of the importance of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Tesla’s (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report chief executive has taken up Ukraine’s cause to ensure that this conflict is not forgotten. The stakes are high, he says.

In addition to democracy, he is concerned about Europe’s energy independence. Recently, Musk sounded the alarm as the heat wave affecting Europe and the US had faded to the background. He reminded everyone that Europe and the NATO countries broadly seemed to have misplaced their priorities.

“I try to take a set of actions that are most likely to improve the probability that the future will be good. And obviously, sometimes I make mistakes in this regard,” Musk said during an interview with Business Insider in March.

“I do whatever I think is most likely to ensure that the future is good for humanity. Those are the actions that I will take.”

Faithful to this commitment, he has just commented on the talks between the US and Russia on a potential prisoner exchange.

The key focus: Women’s National Basketball Association star Brittney Griner recently was sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison for possession of less than a gram of cannabis oil when she went through a Moscow airport on Feb. 17.

‘Free Some People in Jail for Weed Here Too’

According to CNN, Russia wants back a former colonel from the country’s domestic spy agency, who was convicted of murder in Germany in 2021. Russia wants him included in the US’s proposed swap of the arms dealer Viktor Bout for Paul Whelan, whom Russia accused of spying, and Griner.

Moscow is “ready to discuss this topic, but within the framework of the channel that has been agreed by the presidents,” Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, told reporters last week at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Cambodia, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

“There is a specified channel that has been agreed upon by [Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden]and no matter what anyone says publicly, this channel will remain in effect,” Lavrov reportedly said.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the same summit that the US would pursue talks with Russia.

It is in this context that Musk intervened to ask the Biden administration to also make a symbolic gesture for people imprisoned for possession of marijuana in the US

Musk essentially is saying that it doesn’t make sense to put so much effort into freeing one person if you don’t care about the many others languishing in American prisons for the same reason.

“Maybe free some people in jail for weed here too?” Musk recently posted on Twitter. He linked to an article stating that the Biden administration was in discussion for a prisoner swap of Griner for a Russian war criminal.

Weed Seen as ‘Essential Business’

This isn’t the first time Musk, who has huge influence with his 103 million Twitter followers, has tried to spotlight the criminalization of marijuana. In 2020, the billionaire had sharply criticized the public hypocrisy vis-à-vis cannabis.

“Selling weed literally went from major felony to essential business (open during pandemic) in much of America & yet many are still in prison. Doesn’t make sense, isn’t right,” the billionaire wrote on June 6, 2020.

According to a report from the nonprofit American Civil Liberties Union, marijuana arrests account for over half of all drug arrests in the US Of the 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply possessing marijuana.

Nationwide, the arrest data identified one consistent trend: significant racial bias. Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.

Musk has a special connection with marijuana. He used the number 420 in two ultra-important transactions, both for him and for the two companies (Tesla and Twitter) in question.

The figure 420 is the rallying code for marijuana enthusiasts. April 20 or 4/20 is known as Weed Day, practically a holiday for pot lovers. Smoking weed on April 20, preferably at 4:20 am or pm, has become something of a custom for cannabis lovers.

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