In August of 2021, Pennsylvanian Marc Fogel was arrested in Russia at an airport while traveling there for work due to his possession of cannabis that he was using to treat his severe spinal pain. Since then, he has been sentenced to 14-years of hard labor in Russia in which Fogel appealed but it was denied and is now being transported to a hard labor penalty colony, which are “…labor camps in which they were often worked to death on projects meant to benefit the State” stated Mary McMahon of MyLawQuestions.
Now, friends of Fogel and lawmakers are pushing the Biden administration to do more to help free Marc Fogel. Nine senators and sixteen house members have written to the State Department to formally categorize Fogel’s case as a “wrongfully detained” person which would hopefully help Fogel get home safely to his family. Fogel’s family stated how since he was sentenced to this penalty, they have lost touch with him.
In the letter written to the State Department, the congressmen stated how “The State Department has had ample time to reconsider the designation of Mr. Fogel, as over 120 and 50 days respectively have passed since his sentencing and appeal. We implore you to give this case the priority and gravity it deserves.” This comes after Biden’s announcement to pardon prior federal offenses relating to cannabis. Though, not enough has been done following this pardon. Many are pushing for Biden to give more support to Marc Fogel.
There is no reason that Fogel should be in the position that he is in since he did no wrongs, all he did was go to his teaching job in Moscow while carrying the cannabis that his doctor recommended for him to take and is now imprisoned in Russia. Though, this doesn’t come as a surprise due to the fact that Russia has been against reforming cannabis at the international level with the United Nations.
Now it is time to focus on getting more involvement with Marc Fogel’s case and getting him back home safely to his family.
To read the full letter that Senators wrote to the State Department, follow this link: Letter to State Department regarding Marc Fogel.