September 8, 2019
New York Film Student, Audrey Lorber Remains In A Russian Jail For Medical Marijuana Possession

A teenage film student from New York has been in jail in Russia for weeks after police found her in possession of medical marijuana at a St. Petersburg airport.

The Daily Mail is reporting that Audrey Lorber from Staten Island was arrested at Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg after Russian agents found 19 grams of marijuana on her person despite showing authorities her U.S. prescription for medical marijuana.

The Moscow District Court of St Petersburg said Audrey's prescription "does not apply to the territory of the Russian Federation," and so Lorber broke the law. Lorber was traveling with her mother Rochelle who continues to try and get her daughter freed from incarceration.

Lorber is said to have pleaded guilty, but she is still being held to stand trial in St. Petersburg. A friend of the family says that Rochelle Lorber, a retired public school teacher, has now rented an apartment in St. Petersburg in the hope that the court will allow her daughter to go on house arrest and out of jail.

"She's hysterical. She moved out there and got an apartment just to try to get [Audrey] on house arrest, but they didn't give it to her. It's disgusting what they did. They are trying to throw the book at her."
Lorber is enrolled at Pace University where she attends school on a scholarship and is said to maintain a 4.0 GPA. It is unclear what medical condition Lorber is treating with marijuana, but her supervisor at work claims that he has never noticed her to be high.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson issued a statement about Audrey's situation, confirming that they are aware that she is being held in St. Petersburg.

"We are aware of reports of a U.S. citizen arrested in Russia. Whenever a U.S. citizen is arrested overseas, we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular services. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment at this time."
Russia imprisons more people for drug crimes than any other country in Europe, with 25% of all prisoners being jailed for drug-related infractions. Audrey Lorber, who was raised on Staten Island, was arrested under Article 228 of the Russian Criminal Code. In 2018, there were 100,000 people arrested for that charge, which carries a maximum sentence of three years plus a possible fine.

The New York Post shared that the monetary value of the marijuana that Lorber had in her possession was approximately $375 according to the Moscow District Court of St. Petersburg.