Jeff Mizanskey is serving a sentence of life without parole as a result of Missouri’s strict drug laws. The state has a “Prior Persistent Drug Offender” law, a sort of three-strike policy.
In 1993, Mizanskey was found at a hotel where his friend was purchasing seven pounds of marijuana in a sting operation. Though Mizanskey wasn’t actually found to be in possession of the bud, he was charged with intent to distribute for aiding and abetting his friend.
Because of Mizanskey’s two prior drug charges, he was sentenced an obscenely harsh sentence. Though Missouri has strict marijuana laws, Mizanskey is the only prisoner in the state serving a life sentence for a non-violent marijuana crime. During his decades of incarceration, the prisoner says he’s seen “some guys who’ve committed murder go and then come back and then go again. I’ve seen other guys for drugs, hard drugs and marijuana, come go come go come go two or three times.”
An online poll conducted by Fox 2 in St. Louis shows that 93% of readers believe Mizanskey should not serve a life sentence for his crime. There are currently over 100 legislators pushing for his release including a campaign from Show-Me Cannabis, a coalition of Missouri’s legalization supporter, to pressure Governor Jay Nixon to grant clemency.