Bipartisan Group Of Lawmakers Seek To Release American Cannabis Patient Detained In Russia

"Marc Fogel's sentence is vastly disproportionate to the severity of his nonviolent crime," says a resolution filed by bipartisan congressional lawmakers, who are rallying against Russia's incarceration of the U.S. citizen.

Fogel was given a 14-year sentence for possessing medical marijuana, which he had obtained legally in Pennsylvania as an opioid alternative for pain management.

See Also: House United In Call For Release Of Americans Detained in Russia, Including Medical Marijuana Patient

New Lawmakers Resolution: What Does It Say?

Reps. Chris Deluzio (D-PA) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), alongside 13 other cosponsors, are spearheading the House resolution, with a concurrent Senate resolution being led by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Fetterman (D-PA), and Jon Tester (D-MT). They are urging President Joe Biden's federal government to intensify efforts to secure Fogel's release, as reported by Marijuana Moment.

The legislation stresses that Fogel, who has had multiple surgeries resulting in chronic back pain and a permanent limp, had opted for medical marijuana over opioids for pain management. He claimed the marijuana was solely for personal consumption, a statement the Russian government did not counter. Yet, he was convicted of "drug smuggling" in what the lawmakers called a "politicized show trial."

See Also: Family Of Imprisoned Teacher In Russia Wants Biden To Classify Him 'Wrongfully Detained'

The resolution compares Fogel's sentence to the typical five years of probation given for similar offenses in Russia, and calls it "wildly dissimilar" and "clearly motivated by ongoing political tensions between Russia and the United States." The lawmakers are pressing the White House and State Department to call for Fogel's immediate release in all interactions with Russia, while also condemning the country's continued political use of detentions and prosecutions.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) reaffirmed their commitment to Fogel, stating, "For too long, we have pressed the Biden administration to declare Mr. Fogel as wrongfully detained by the Russian government." Deluzio added that they "cannot sit by while Putin's Russia plays political games with the lives of Americans."

Read more on Marijuana Moment

How can expungements for cannabis offenses contribute to addressing social injustices and providing individuals with a fresh start? If you want to know more about this topic consider joining us at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago this Sept 27-28 for its 17th edition. Get your tickets today before prices increase and secure a spot at the epicenter of cannabis investment, branding, culture, and where deals get done.

Read Next: Turning 15 Years Of Imprisonment Into Cannabis Advocacy, Luke Scarmazzo Shares His Vision

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsGlobalMarketsGeneralBob CaseyGuy ReschenthalerJohn FettermanJon TesterMarc FogelPresident Joe BidenRep. Chris DeluzioSteve Daines Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference
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