jeff mizanskey marijuana billboard missouri
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Missouri Bill To Free Man Serving Life Sentence For Marijuana Gets Hearing

jeff mizanskey marijuana billboard missouriBy Dan Viets

House Bill 978 was heard by the Missouri House of Representatives’ Corrections Committee on the morning of Wednesday, March 4, at the Missouri Capitol building in Jefferson City. First-term Republican Representative Shamed Dogan of St. Louis filed the bill after discussions with Show-Me Cannabis representatives.

His initial plan was to file a bill which would encourage Governor Nixon to grant clemency to Jeff Mizanskey. Subsequently, the bill was amended to directly require that Jeff, and any other person presently incarcerated in Missouri under similar circumstances, be granted immediate parole.

Jeff Mizanskey is a Sedalia native who has been convicted of three marijuana felony offenses, but no other crimes during his entire life. Under a law known as the “prior and persistent drug offender” statute, the defendant in that situation can be sentenced to 10 to 30 years or life in prison and that sentence must be served without the possibility of parole or probation being granted.

That statute was repealed by the Missouri General Assembly in 2014 as part of a broad overhaul of the Missouri criminal laws in a bill drafted by a Committee of the Missouri Bar Association on which I served. However, the repeal takes effect on January 1, 2017, and is not retroactive.

Hundreds of thousands of online signatures, telephone calls and letters have been sent to Governor Nixon urging him to release Jeff from prison. Recently, the Governor has promised to review his case before leaving office. The Governor has also noted the fact that Jeff was sentenced under a law which has now been repealed.

Members of Jeff’s family spoke to the Committee on Wednesday morning. One of them read a letter from a retired Sedalia police officer who stated that Jeff had always been polite and respectful in his dealings with him.

I spoke in support of the bill, noting that in 30 years of representing cannabis defendants, I have never seen anyone receive such an unjust sentence. Members of the Committee inquired about how long Jeff has been in prison. The answer is over 20 years. I also noted in my testimony that the Prosecutor who asked for the sentence in Jeff’s case, recently-elected Pettis County Associate Circuit Judge Jeff Mittelhauser, has issued a statement calling for Mizanskey’s release.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill. All of the comments by members of the Corrections Committee were supportive of the proposed legislation. It is therefore hoped that this bill may soon be forwarded to the full House for a vote there and subsequently sent to the Missouri Senate for consideration.

Now is an excellent time to contact Governor Jay Nixon’s office at 573-751-3222 or by sending him an email here. The Chair of the Corrections Committee, Rep. Paul Fitzwater, will determine when and whether this bill is brought up to the Committee for a vote. Rep. Fitzwater may be contacted at 573-751-2112 or Paul.Fitzwater@house.mo.gov.

Show-Me Cannabis is working with Jeff’s family and others to secure his release as soon as possible. Donations to support that work may be made on our website here, or sign up for a $10 or $20 monthly recurring pledge here.

Source: Show-Me Cannabis

  • jason

    I call the nixons office every weak .I even went as far a posting his phone number 751-3222 with show-me ‘bill board ‘ life for pot is not justice . call governor nixon printed on paper and a lot of people took the number I pin on the pig board at the grocery store . I need to pin one at the laundry mat

  • ZEMTEK

    Why even contact Jay Nixon when Show me cannabis don’t really care about the people. Giving cops money for their pensions and then turn around and file lawsuits against the very same people. SMC also does not free all non violent cannabis offenders because they have plant and possession limits, which those do is harm the small time farmers. They only want their rich lobby friends to benefit from legalization. Plus the SMC law would allow cops to arrest people even though they may not have any cannabis for days. We need to end the war and free ALL non violent cannabis offenders. SMC created a bill and then paid for polling that was easily skewed for the results that SMC wanted. SMC believes that the people of MO are stupid and that’s why they put all this crap in their bill that would limit and continue to jail Missourians over cannabis. If you want to be a part of real reform like the Missouri Cannabis Reform.

  • Jean Anne Lewis

    Best Of Luck To Jeff And His Family. He deserves to be released.

  • Ted Mishler

    What we need to do is find a way to live off in the sea or ocean away from all the war mongers, or in deep space, for real, they have been treating cannabis consumers with mal will for centuries, with no indication of a want to stop
    maybe one of the planet’s moons has water or underground cavities where one could sustain their existence away from the barbarians, as it seems they only want war, and whip people while they enjoy making them sore

  • Ted Mishler

    why do you suppose they removed Kaneh-bos from their bible? dont you suppose it is due to their want to slave everyone not into their secrecy?

  • Silly Rabbit

    Good job bro, gives me an idea ….. We have a lot of those bulletin boards around town ….. Going to get my printer working …..

    Hang in there Jeff won’t be long, help is coming!

  • Kane

    Everybody ignore ZEMTEK, this dude is fighting for his own cause. SMC is doing great work trying to free Jeff, no matter what this fool says. I’ve heard way more from SMC than I have from MCR, wait I’ve never heard of them from anyone beside ZEMTEK. Maybe there is a reason for that. I called worthless Jay Nixon’s office and urged for support. I called Paul Fitzwater and left my number in a message, Rep. Fitzwater called me back personally and spoke with me on the phone for around 10 minutes while I praised his work for chairing the committee. What have you done ZEMTEK, besides bad mouth fellow brothers of reform? I urge fellow Missourians to call and show your support anyways, whether you feel it does any good or not. We can’t leave it up to politicians without supporting them, even if most of them are corrupt bastards.

    • ZEMTEK

      If you call speaking the truth about their bill bad mouthing ok I guess. I just bring the truth to the people. We do not need any more bad legislature. look smc been trying to get cannabis legalized for at least 6 years now and they have failed every time. They are too busy paying for big salaries instead of into the actual cause. In the last 6 years I have hardly seen diddly squat about legalization so its pretty clear they didn’t spent the money on things that would get peoples attention. I used to be a smc supporter myself. I just don’t want bad things in a bill. and if people like me don’t speak out and tell the truth shit will never get changed because we keep accepting the same crap. Now if you really want real legalization lets talk about the mcrpa bill that’s 100 times better than what the smcr currently wants us to swallow. If you or anyone else interested in learning about the mcrpa you are welcomed to Like Missouri Cannabis Reform on fb. and right now they are gathering signatures for mcrpa and trust me I aint no friend of mcrpa people either. And I know till smcr does a rewrite they will continue to lose supporters.

      • Kane

        Well I’ve seen more bills put forward by SMC than by MCR so what does that show you? Who has more power..

        • ZEMTEK

          If you want to count bad bills sure SMC has put forth more. And currently MCR is working on submitting a new bill that’s like the mcrpa but with a do not sell to minors on it. It wont have all the stupid stuff than SMC has in their bill. And SMC is losing power. People are sick of giving money to SMC and then SMC fails year after year to get cannabis legalized because they are to busy spending money on their salaries. Maybe if they would volunteer their time like most others maybe they could actually do some good for legalization.

          • Kane

            Haha, volunteer their time? Kinda like Senators and Representatives hahahahaha. Yeah because its so easy to put food on the table when you don’t have any income, right? Some of your comments have to be the most asinine things I’ve heard in my life.

            “If you want to count bad bills”

            Dude 10 years ago there were NO bills. Sometimes you have to pass a bad bill to get the ball rolling, and I’ve never seen MCR have a bill get a hearing. So your here on the internet wasting peoples time instead of standing on your front porch with a pro-marijuana sign that would actually do something positive for society. You blow more hot air than a jet engine.

          • ZEMTEK

            Don’t matter any more. We have enough study info to act accordingly now. We need to stop bad laws from ever seeing light. I just hope when SMC is rewriting their bill they come back with something for the people. over 94% of Missourians support full legalization so I don’t understand why SMC is so scared to do some real legalization. I do think SMC will come to its senses if enough people actually tell them. I know MCRPA is the ideal bill and we always can add a do not sell to minors on it at a later date if you happen to be one of those people still scared and think cannabis, which is a totally non toxic plant, still needs an age limit. But I also can understand parents concerns about cannabis being sold to their children and that’s why just have a do not sell to minors section is completely acceptable. We need to end the harassment of the people by cops so we need less laws.

          • Kane

            I agree with you, I do not personally think there should be an age limit on cannabis, but I do disagree with your statement that 94% of Missourians favor full legalization. As much as I wish that were the case, its simply not true. If you get 60% of Missourians to support full legalization it would be legal here already. SMC pass 4 cannabis laws this week alone in the general assembly so I think at least some sort of progress is being made, even if its not exactly what I want in the bills. They are still starting the snowball effect here, and thats something to be proud of in a conservative state such as this.

          • ZEMTEK

            http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/editorials/article11091155.html Actually yes they do support legalization here. I know everyone I talk to supports it. I have not had one person yet tell me that they are against legalization and I often take the stance as though I personally am against legalization and people will disagree with me every time and argue for legalization. You really have no idea how bad people want an end to the war on the people. That’s why I am supporting the mcrpa at this time and I will sign it when its voted on. And when I go out into public I take my sweet ass time when I go to places and I just talk with people. I can talk to like 100 people each time I go out. Grocery store lines can be real interesting getting a talk about legalization a going. Get lots n lots of feedback. I don’t waste any opportunity to talk to people about legalization. I want this for MO badly. But I am also sick of bad laws. I am sick n freakin tired being oppressed by the rich and gov. That’s why I cant support the SMC bill at this time. I hope I will be able to support SMC when they come out with a rewrite.

          • ZEMTEK

            and that poll was only open for like 2 days if that.

          • ZEMTEK

            Actually I think that’s pretty close. Most people sign the MCRPA petition when asked to. And we are upfront about it not having an age limit. Well at least the people from Missouri Cannabis Reform that volunteer to collect signatures. The MCRPA is a great bill and should pass no problem. All the people of Missouri need is a bit of education and we are getting that now even mainstream media is now helping.

  • Gary Williams

    Best of luck Jeff. Spoil those grandkids.