In a previous article, we told the story of Jeff Mizanskey, a 61 year old man from Sedalia, MO serving a life sentence for possession of marijuana. Jeff was a victim of the “three strikes” laws and their harsh mandatory minimum sentences, and has been behind bars since his third arrest in 1993.
That’s more than 20 years in prison. For pot.
But a breakthrough came for Jeff and his family yesterday, when Missouri governor Jay Nixon commuted his sentence, making him eligible for parole. By all accounts, Mizanskey has been a model prisoner, and his application for parole is expected to be approved. The hearing could be scheduled as soon as August.
Jeff has become something of a poster boy for legalization activists. The commutation of his sentence should be taken as a very encouraging sign that the times are changing, and that cannabis laws are changing with them.
Even in the conservative American Midwest.
Nixon also granted clemency to five other non-violent drug offenders: Michael Derrington (who was also convicted of pot possession), Bill Holt, Nicole Lowe, Doris Atchison, and Earl Wolf.