Jeff Mizanskey: Pot Dealer’s Life Sentence Commuted

May 23, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Jeff Mizanskey, a 62-year-old man, who was sentenced to life in prison for three non-violent marijuana convictions, has been commuted by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. Jeff Mizanskey was arrested in 1993 for possession of 7 pounds of marijuana, but because it was his third drug offense, Mizanskey was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Jeff Mizanskey

Jeff Mizanskey, a 62-year-old persistent drug offender, will soon be a free man after spending 22 years behind bars. Friday night, the Democratic governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, announced that he has decided to commute Mizanskey along with several other prisoners.

In 1993, the grandfather was arrested as he was attempting to sell 6 or 7 pounds of pot to a dealer who worked with the Mexican drug cartels. Due to the fact that it was Mr. Mizanskey’s third drug offense, (in 1989 and 1991 he was arrested for the same crime), he was sentenced to life without parole under Missouri’s Prior and Persistent Drug Offender statute, a law that was struck down in 2014 after multiple states legalized the use of marijuana.

The governor issued a lengthy statement where he said that he is commuting Jeff Mizanskey because none of his offenses were violent or involved selling to children.

“The executive power to grant clemency is one I take with a great deal of consideration and seriousness,” Nixon stated. “In each of the cases where I have granted a pardon, the individual has demonstrated the ability and willingness to turn his or her life around and become a contributing member of society.”

The governor added:

“In the case of the commutation, my action provides Jeff Mizanskey with the opportunity to demonstrate that he deserves parole.”

“It’s amazing,” relieved and ecstatic that his father will be released from prison, 37-year-old Chris Mizanskey said. “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.”

Aaron Malin, a staff member of Show Me Cannabis, who has been working for years with family members and local politicians to have Mizanskey released, said that the past two decades he has been locked up, he has behaved like a model prisoner.

“I am still in shock but obviously thrilled,” Malin said. “My understanding is Jeff doesn’t know.”

Malin confessed:

“In almost 22 years he had two write-ups, one for putting mail in the wrong slot and one for a messy floor. Tell me that’s not a model prisoner. No fights, no nothing. Tell me that’s not a model prisoner.”

Jeff Mizanskey should be out this summer.

What are your thoughts on Nixon’s decision?

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    Comments (4)

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    1. joe says:

      I totally agree with the decision to commute sentence. Although I am vehemently opposed to the use of marijuana, his “violation” was not violent and since the public/voters have agreed to legalize marijuana, in some states, there is no reason that someone be incarcerated for something that has now been legalized.

    2. Donna says:

      A man goes to prison for life for a non violent crime involving a plant substance. A BP executive kills 11 people on an oil rig, in the name of saving money on a well part, and he flies away in his company jet sipping fine wine and continues his life uninterrupted.

    3. John Doe says:

      Now….on to the business of releasing the three people arrested for beastiality…after all, the sheep *did* consent…

    4. andrew lautin says:

      Heh. Joe

      So ‘vehemently opposed’

      Wow. Thank goodness we have Joe. Otherwise we would all go to pot

      “Throw out opium, which the Creator himself seems to prescribe, for we often see the scarlet poppy growing in the cornfields, as if it were foreseen that wherever there is hunger to be fed there must also be a pain to be soothed; throw out a few specifics which our art did not discover, and it is hardly needed to apply; throw out wine, which is a food, and the vapors which produce the miracle of anaesthesia, and I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica [medical drugs], as now used, could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all the better for mankind,—and all the worse for the fishes.

      Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

      As quoted in a review of Currents and Counter-currents in Medical Science (1860) in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Vol. 40 (1860), p. 467

      And then there is Joe’s opinion re: his vehemence.

      We have nearly a century of l research into the finer scaled structure of the rostral brain stem and asceng reticular system and basal forebrain and we have, Joe’s vehemence

      Impact of countless emerging infectious diseases on CNS immune/nrutoummine function and …


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