Basketball star Brittney Griner was released from Russian prison in a prisoner exchange. Why are some people upset about it?

Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Roger Carstens told reporters that Griner spent 12 hours talking to officials on her plane ride back to the U.S. after spending 10 months in a Russian prison for trafficking THC cartridges into the country. Carstens said the WNBA star seemed healthy and full of energy.

Griner was released from Russian custody after officials negotiated a prisoner exchange with infamous Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Many cheered the release, but officials in Department of Justice (DOJ) are calling the exchange a “mistake,” according to Washington Post.

Bout was serving 25 years in a federal prison for selling weapons to violent regimes and terrorist groups. By comparison, Griner’s crime was a minor one, and some are criticizing the Biden administration for not pressing the Russian government to release more prisoners int the exchange. Justice officials reportedly fought the administration over the deal. “If she were my relative, I would want to do the swap. But trading a notorious international arms dealer for a basketball player is madness,” an anonymous source in the DOJ told the Post.

N.M.: Anxiety Qualifies for Medical Pot

The New Mexico Department of Health’s (DOH) Medical Cannabis Program recently announced it will be adding anxiety disorder to the program’s list of qualifying conditions starting Jan. 1, 2023.

A petition asking for the disorder to be added to the list of qualifying conditions was submitted to the Medical Cannabis Medical Advisory Board during a meeting last March. The board voted unanimously to include the disorder, and the board’s petition was authorized in November.

“Even though patients may access cannabis without a medical cannabis card through the adult use program, by including anxiety disorder in the list of qualifying conditions, patients would have increased opportunity to discuss with their medical provider how cannabis can be used to alleviate the symptoms of their anxiety disorder,” wrote David R. Scrase, Acting Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Health in his decision.

Anxiety disorder is the first new qualifying condition to be added to the list since 2019.

ATM Crackdown Reaches N.M.

As we reported last week, cashless ATM companies are cracking down on the use of their services in cannabis dispensaries across the country. At least two New Mexico companies say they have been affected.

According to Santa Fe Reporter, cannabis retailer PurLife and at least one other company have lost a primary method of accepting payment for cannabis purchases now that the ability to process debit cards has been taken from them.

Cashless ATMs allow consumers to make cash withdrawals from their bank at the cash register and apply it to their purchase.