Marijuana is safer than alcohol. Marijuana is safer than tobacco. Marijuana is safer than pharmaceutical drugs. Those are three facts that are backed up by a mountain of scientific evidence. However, all three of the previously named substances are completely legal in the United States, while recreational marijuana is prohibited in 48 states. Even in the two states that it’s legal, anything over one ounce for recreational purposes is still prohibited.
In the case of Jeff Mizanskey in Missouri, marijuana is prohibited to such an extent that Mr. Mizanskey is serving a life prison sentence for marijuana only offenses. An effort to reduce Mr. Mizanskey’s sentence has now drawn international attention by being covered by the BBC. Per the BBC:
Jeff Mizanskey has been in prison for almost 21 years. For 20 of those years, no-one outside his friends and family had heard of his case. But in the past months, and weeks in particular, that has started to change.
More than 370,000 people have signed an online petition for his release. And now campaigners are crowdfunding to try to raise $21,000 (£12,000) for him – a symbolic $1,000 for each year he’s been inside. They plan to spend the money raised on billboards, and a media campaign to raise awareness of his case.
In 1994 Mizanskey was found guilty of “possession and intent to distribute” cannabis. It was his third offence, and under Missouri’s “prior and persistent drug offender” law, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
A jail cell should be reserved for America’s worst criminals – rapists, murders, child molesters, etc. To occupy a jail cell with someone who has been convicted of marijuana only offenses is an enormous injustice, a waste of resources, and is just plain wrong.