Jeff Mizanskey fights for marijuana reform one year after prison release

1 year 9 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, September 01 2016 Sep 1, 2016 Thursday, September 01, 2016 4:11:00 PM CDT September 01, 2016 in News
By: Hli Yang, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

SEDALIA – A year ago Thursday, Jeff Mizanskey walked out of prison after spending more than two decades behind bars for multiple marijuana convictions. Now, he’s fighting for change.

Since his release, Mizanskey has been a vocal advocate for marijuana law reform and is trying to get a measure legalizing medical marijuana on the November ballot.

"Can you just think about how many people have died because they couldn't get the medicine they need because it was illegal?" he said. "It's a shame." 

Mizankey was sentenced to life without parole after his third marijuana offense because of a law deeming him "prior and persistent offender."

That statute was repealed last year and will no longer be used starting in January.

Mizanskey's attorney, Dan Viets, said Mizanskey's story was a factor in that.

"Jeff's case had, I think, something to do with the legislature agreeing to repeal that law," Viets said. 

Mizanskey said it’s surprising that his experience could help others.

“I feel good that we can actually turn something that was so bad into something good,” he said. “At least it’s not wasted. I lost so much, but at least it’s helping others.”

Mizanskey said the only way changes can be made is if people are involved in politics.

“We have to get involved,” he said. “That means registering to vote. That means voting. That means signing petitions when they go around.”

He said Missourians should urge lawmakers to change the criminal justice system and reduce or eliminate the number of non-violent people in prison.

Marijuana offenses, mainly involving simple possession, account for roughly half of all drug-related crimes. According to a recent report from the American Civil Liberties Union, 88 percent of the more than 8 million marijuana arrests between 2001-2010 were for possession alone. There were more arrests in the U.S. for marijuana possession in 2011 than for all violent crimes combined, according to the FBI’s uniform crime report.

Two of three of Mizanskey's convictions were for possession.

He said he’s grateful for all of the support he's gotten. His supporters raised funds, put up billboards and started a letter writing campaign to get him out of prison. 

“Without everyone who helped get me out, I wouldn’t be here right now,” he said.

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Monday began Summer Safety Week and local programs are helping those in danger of not being able to... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, June 19 2018 Jun 19, 2018 Tuesday, June 19, 2018 5:54:00 AM CDT June 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Democratic political action committee is targeting Republican Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley for not... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, June 19 2018 Jun 19, 2018 Tuesday, June 19, 2018 4:22:00 AM CDT June 19, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY - Former Gov. Eric Greitens' attorneys will meet with lawyers Tuesday to discuss his use of the Confide... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, June 19 2018 Jun 19, 2018 Tuesday, June 19, 2018 3:00:00 AM CDT June 19, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Monday he is directing the Pentagon to create a new "Space Force" as... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 7:08:00 PM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri democrats want Governor Mike Parson fire his chief operating officer and cancel a contract awarded to... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 6:49:00 PM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri air conditioning companies are facing the busiest time of year amid a four-day heat advisory. Craig... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 5:16:00 PM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – The attorney representing the security guard who shot Anthony Warren at a Waffle House on New Year's Day... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 3:12:00 PM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The 600 block of Monroe Street will be closed until Friday. Construction crews are removing a retaining... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 2:20:00 PM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A death, a huge cache of weapons and a suspect whose gun jammed as he was aiming... More >>
17 hours ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 2:17:00 PM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Gov. Mike Parson appointed state Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe to be the new lieutenant... More >>
18 hours ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 1:15:00 PM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - Jesse Viertel Memorial Airport may reach new heights after the city council accepted a bid and authorized a... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 12:42:00 PM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - City public works crews will be repairing a road buckle on Providence Road between Blue Ridge Road and... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 11:39:00 AM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
BALLWIN (AP) — Another bear sighting has people concerned in part of Missouri, but this time, it's deep into... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 9:45:39 AM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY – The Katy Trail will see more bike traffic than usual this week with the 2018 Katy Trail... More >>
1 day ago Monday, June 18 2018 Jun 18, 2018 Monday, June 18, 2018 7:33:00 AM CDT June 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia is under a heat advisory until Monday evening. The National Weather Service issued the advisory on... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, June 17 2018 Jun 17, 2018 Sunday, June 17, 2018 9:29:00 PM CDT June 17, 2018 in News
FULTON - Forty people with disabilities will learn how to ride a two-wheel bicycle at the iCan Bike camp this... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, June 17 2018 Jun 17, 2018 Sunday, June 17, 2018 9:18:00 PM CDT June 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri is the first and only state to define "meat" as exclusively animal product. The Missouri General... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, June 17 2018 Jun 17, 2018 Sunday, June 17, 2018 4:55:00 PM CDT June 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The city will discuss the results of the 2017 Community Survey at Monday's city council meeting. Used... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, June 17 2018 Jun 17, 2018 Sunday, June 17, 2018 4:06:00 PM CDT June 17, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 80°
8am 81°
9am 84°
10am 86°
11am 87°