Today, the governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon commuted the sentence of Jeff Mizanskey. He was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a third offense that amounted to a half a dozen bricks of cannabis. From what I understand, a brick is a pound — sometimes a kilo. Eithe way, the state of Missouri had seen fit to take this man’s life and put it in a box, with absolutely zero recourse to regain his freedom.
Today, a glimmer of compassion was shown in an increasingly divided state. Many have spoken out against this heavy handed response to a non-violent offense. Although it was a glimmer, it was brought about through the hard work and relentless efforts of many people. Ray Downs first wrote about Mizanskey’s plight and later Aaron Malin. Upon finding out, Malin simply said. “I’m speechless”. Danny Wicentowski reported Malin’s first reaction was “We’re not sure if Jeff knows yet.” He’s worked with many activist and even politicians like Paul Curtman. Who is on the record speaking about re-examining the drug war through more compassionate eyes—and specifically the story of Jeff Mizanskey. The director of Show-Me Cannabis, John Payne could only say “I am kind of overwhelmed right now.” Along with Malin and others, Payne has been at the forefront of correcting what many call an unconstitutional use of state power. Unconstitutional because a life sentence for a non-violent crime is, by most rational peoples standards, cruel and unusual. Which violates the 8th amendment. I even made my own plees to the governor.
But all the credit goes to the writers, lawyers, and activist working behind the scenes. Our state has had a very rough spell, this was much needed good news.