The internet can be a very powerful tool. I am reminded of that fact almost daily. Virtually every day I get an e-mail or message from someone telling me about some amazing thing that happened all because of internet activism. That’s not to say that all that is needed in the marijuana reform movement is internet activism, because that’s certainly not the case. We still need people hitting the pavement, collecting signatures, lobbying elected officials in person, etc.. But harnessing the internet can help those efforts.
A prime example would be the case of Jeff Mizanskey. Jeff Mizanskey was serving a life sentence in a Missouri prison for marijuana only offenses. There were a number of things that contributed to Jeff’s eventual release, but a big part of it was the online petition that was started by Jeff’s son Chris. The petition was signed 391,254 times. The petition wasn’t legally binding, but it was a huge symbolic example of how much support there was out there for Jeff’s release. The petition caught the attention of the media, which resulted in many stories about the effort to free Jeff. That media attention ramped up the pressure on Missouri’s Governor to step up and grant clemency to Jeff. The rest is history.
I smile every day thinking about the release of Jeff Mizanskey, but I also frown because there are so many other marijuana POWs still sitting in jail cells. But that’s why I’m such a big fan of Adela Falk, who has made it her mission to free all marijuana POWs. Adela started a new petition to free a marijuana prisoner. The focus of this petition is Natalie DePriest, who was sentenced to two 15 year sentences for growing 12 marijuana plants. That sentence is unacceptable. Below is more information, via the petition for Natalie DePriest:
Natalie DePriest was sentenced to 2-15 year sentences in prison for production of marijuana and possession of more than five grams of marijuana. Natalie had 12 marijuana plants. Natalie has filed for clemency from Governor Jay Nixon. Please, sign this petition to show your support for Natalie. Remember, No-one belongs in jail for a plant.
This is the same Governor that granted clemency to Jeff Mizanskey, and I’m hopeful that this petition goes viral and it results in Governor Nixon granting clemency to not only Natalie, but also Natalie’s brother David, who is also in prison for the same 12 marijuana plants. Please sign the petition, and tell everyone else that you know to do the same.