Missouri Man Sentenced to Life for Marijuana Eligible for Parole

By Oscar Pascual |

If there’s one good reason to further expand drug policy reform, it’s Missouri prison inmate Jeff Mizanskey, who is serving a life sentence for nonviolent, marijuana-related offenses.

However, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon commuted Mizanskey’s sentence on Friday, making him eligible for parole over 20 years since he was sentenced, according to an AP report.

Mizanskey was sentenced to life without parole in 1996 after being convicted of conspiring to sell six pounds of marijuana to a dealer connected with Mexican drug cartels.

It was also his third pot-related drug offense. Mizanskey was also convicted for possession and sale of marijuana in 1984, and possession in 1991. The state’s law, which has since changed, called for a life sentence without parole for repeat offenders convicted with three drug felonies.

He has remained in prison since, bearing the distinction as the only Missouri inmate serving life without parole for nonviolent marijuana offenses.

Advocates of prohibition reform and freedom in general have campaigned for his pardon ever since, gathering a massive amount of over 391,000 signatures in an online petition.

Gov. Nixon said that none of Mizanskey’s offenses were violent or targeted children, thus leading to the commuted sentence.

“My action provides Jeff Mizanskey with the opportunity to demonstrate that he deserves parole,” Nixon said in a statement.

37-year-old Chris Mizanskey, son of Jeff, was ecstatic at the possibility of bringing his father back to the family.

“It’s amazing,” Mizanskey told the AP. “To be able to talk to him, to be able to sit here and have a conversation with him. To have my son sit on his lap, for him to be a part of his grandkid’s life, our lives, my whole family. I mean really words can’t even describe it.”

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