Lebanon, NH – August 8, 2022 – Brittney Griner’s arrest and conviction in Russia for possession of medical cannabis oil is a critical lesson for all international travelers to learn. “The laws of your home country don’t travel with you — that’s why knowing the local laws of the destination(s) is critical before traveling,” said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue, the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services and a member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

According to her attorney, Griner had legally obtained the two vape cartridges containing hashish oil that were found in her luggage at a Moscow airport in February. “The attending physician gave Brittney recommendations for the use of medical cannabis,” said her lawyer, Maria Blagovolina. “The permission was issued on behalf of the Arizona Department of Health.”

But medical marijuana is not legal in Russia. “There are several unusual things that are legal in the U.S. but illegal in other parts of the world, like camouflage attire in the Caribbean, importing and selling chewing gum in Singapore, swearing in public in the U.A.E. All are banned in the aforementioned countries and some violations are punishable with jail time,” Richards said.

At best, international travelers may receive a stern warning or the item could be confiscated. At worst, officials can fine you, arrest you, expel you and even jail you, as is the case for WNBA star Griner.

“The U.S. Department of State’s travel information web page for overseas travel advice explains you are subject to local laws while abroad,” Richards said. “Whether it’s satellite phones in India, Walkie-Talkies in Japan, prescription drugs like Ambien in Singapore, or over-the-counter medications like Sudafed in Greece – they are all illegal. You are bound by those laws. You can’t just say ‘Oops, I didn’t know.’ Ignorance is not an excuse,” Richards said.

Travelers should carefully research the laws around their required medicine in countries they plan to visit and consult medical guidance on substitute medications. Even if a medicine is legal, travelers should always keep it in the original container and have a copy of a prescription.

Contact Bill McIntyre at bmcintyre@globalrescue.com or +1 (202) 560-1195 to arrange an interview.

About Global Rescue    

Global Rescue is the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services to enterprises, governments and individuals. Founded in 2004, Global Rescue has exclusive relationships with the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations and Elite Medical Group. Global Rescue provides best-in-class services that identify, monitor and respond to client medical and security crises. Global Rescue has provided medical and security support to its clients, including Fortune 500 companies, governments and academic institutions, during every globally significant crisis of the last two decades. For more information, visit www.globalrescue.com