A man who spent more than 20 years in prison for weed is spending his newfound freedom out organizing to make the plant that got him locked up legal. Jeff Mizanskey, a 62-year-old grandfather and icon of the movement, has only been out of prison for six months, but wasted no time working to collect the signatures necessary to put medical marijuana on the Missouri ballot in November.
According to a Riverfront Times profile on Mizanskey, he contacted New Approach Missouri, the group behind the medical marijuana push in Missouri, the day he was released. Mizanskey’s activism is fitting: The man became the face of prohibition’s brutal consequences while still behind bars.
Mizanskey was sentenced to life without parole after his third felony marijuana-related convention in 1993. In 2013, a hard-hitting Riverfront Times reported titled “How a Missouri Man Could Die in Prison for Weed” dove into Mizanskey’s case and exposed the severity of mandatory minimum sentencing requirements in Missouri. Activists organized around Mizanskey’s case, and in 2015, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon commuted his sentence; later that year, Mizanskey walked out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center, greeted by supporters and press.
Mizanskey’s severe punishment and the Riverfront Times’ attention to his case elevated him to a symbol of the injustice of marijuana prohibition, and highlighted the absurdity of Missouri’s uniquely harsh laws on punishments for weed. As the Riverfront Times explained:
"The unusual sentence was an extreme result of Missouri's unusual three-strikes law. Under the state statute, a person with three drug-related felonies can be subject to a minimum of ten years and a maximum of life in prison without parole if a prosecutor chooses to charge him as a ‘prior and persistent drug offender.’ According to the American Civil Liberties Union, no other state in the country has a drug-specific three-strikes law."
Now a free man with a mission, Mizanskey is motivated to move Missouri toward reform-minded marijuana policy.
"I finally made it to freedom," he said upon his release. "There's a lot of people in here that deserve the same thing."
Read the Riverfront Times’ reporting on Mizanskey’s case here.
Survey Indicates Teen Marijuana Use in Colorado is Lower Than National Average
Family of Man Killed by Bulldozer After Growing Pot Sues Police
Ban on Smokable Medical Marijuana Officially Repealed in Florida
High Folks: Yareem Barnes-Ivey Balances the Two Worlds of Cannabis
Knowledgeable Dabbing: A Guide To Our Favorite Quartz Bangers
First Clinical Trial Of Cannabis For PTSD in Veterans Is Now Complete
Missouri Police Raid Hospital Room of Stage 4 Cancer Patient Using Cannabis
Oklahoma House Passes Medical Cannabis Protection Bill
News5 days ago
Indiana State Trooper Seizes $3.5 Million Worth of Cannabis, Vapes
News5 days ago
Colorado Researchers Seeking Volunteers to Get High and Drive
News6 days ago
Study Finds Medical Marijuana Alleviates Seniors’ Pain, Reduces Opioid Use
News7 days ago
Survey Shows 25% of Cannabis Users in Legal States Consume at Work
Legalization6 days ago
Breaking: Connecticut Lawmakers Unveil Plan to Legalize Marijuana
Culture5 days ago
The New “Miss Marijuana” Pageant Comes With Outdated Guidelines and Transphobia
News7 days ago
$2.5 Million Worth of Marijuana Seized at Philadelphia Port
Grow6 days ago
An Interview With Dinafem Seeds: Europe’s King Of Feminized Seeds