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Missouri man sentenced to life for marijuana eligible for parole

By Oscar Pascual |

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

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

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

It was also his third marijuana-related drug offense. Mizanskey was also convicted of marijuana possession and sale in 1984 and possession in 1991. The state law, which has since been amended, required life imprisonment without parole for repeat offenders convicted of three drug offenses.

He has since been incarcerated and has been awarded the distinction of being the only Missouri inmate to serve life without parole for nonviolent marijuana offenses.

Proponents of prohibition reform and freedom in general have since campaigned for his pardon, collecting a massive amount of more than 391,000 signatures in an online petition.

Governor Nixon said none of Mizanskey’s offenses involved violent or targeted children, leading to the commuted sentence.

“My action gives Jeff Mizanskey an opportunity to show that he deserves parole,” Nixon said in a statement.

Jeff’s son Chris Mizanskey, 37, was ecstatic at the opportunity to bring 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 make my son sit on his lap so that he can be a part of his grandchild’s life, our life, my whole family. I mean really words can’t even describe it.”

Photo credit: YouTube

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