Missouri Bill to Free those Serving Life in Prison for Cannabis Takes Leap Forward
By Aaron Malin, Show-Me Cannabis
A bill that would require the release of any offender serving life without parole for marijuana offenses has moved forward in the Missouri legislature. House Bill 978, introduced by Representative Shamed Dogan, was assigned this week to the House Corrections Committee, and a hearing was immediately scheduled for next Wednesday, March 4, at 8:00 a.m. in House Hearing Room 5. The bill would require the release of 61-year-old great-grandfather Jeff Mizanskey, who has been incarcerated for twenty-one years on a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
“I am grateful to Chairman Fitzwater for holding a hearing on HB 978. Since introducing this bill, I have yet to hear from anyone who believes that life without parole is a reasonable sentence for marijuana offenses,” said Dogan, (R – Ballwin). “To the contrary, I’ve received a great amount of support from my constituents as well as my Republican and Democratic colleagues in the House. I look forward to hearing testimony from other Missourians, including Jeff Mizanskey’s family and friends, about their desire to grant Jeff Mizanskey the freedom he deserves.”
Legislation was introduced to free Mizanskey after Governor Nixon failed to act on a petition for executive clemency, which was filed approximately two years earlier. After repeatedly declining to comment on Mizanskey’s petition, Nixon’s position evolved just hours after it was announced that Representative Dogan would introduce HB 978. “It’s a very serious amount of time,” Nixon told KMBC. “If the laws change after someone is sentenced, then you want to give those things a close look.” Please join the Justice for Jeff campaign by texting ‘Jeff’ to 420420 now. Then, call Governor Nixon’s office at 573-751-3222 and politely ask that he grant Jeff Mizanskey clemency.