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 4th at 8:00 AM 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."
Show-Me Cannabis is an association of organizations and individuals, who believe that cannabis prohibition is a failed policy, and regulating and taxing cannabis in a manner
similar to alcohol would better control the production, distribution, and consumption of cannabis than the current criminal market system does. The group seeks to engage
Missourians in a serious, public discussion about the issues associated with marijuana consumption, including medical cannabis, industrial hemp, public safety, and financial
analysis in order to address problems associated with the current, failed policy.
Make a donation to the Show-Me Cannabis campaign so that they can continue to fight for marijuana reform in Missouri.