In 1995, Jeff Mizanskey of Missouri was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole after he allegedly conspired to sell six pounds of marijuana to a Mexican drug cartel dealer. Prior to that, he already had two drug-related convictions involving possession and sale of weed.
Two decades later, he now walks as a free man after much lobbying from family, advocates, and lawmakers for marijuana legalization, arguing that Mizanskey’s sentence was too stiff. After all, he was the only inmate to receive such a sentence for a non-violent marijuana-related offense.
Last May, Democratic Governor Jay Nixon allowed Mizanskey to argue for his freedom, saying that his offenses were non-violent and didn’t involve selling drugs to children. Furthermore, the law under which he was originally been sentenced has now been changed.
Missouri is not the only state reevaluating drug possession punishment. In Connecticut, a new law is being deliberated on that will make possession of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine only a misdemeanor for first-time offenders, rather than imposing a seven-year prison sentence. Both Nebraska and Alabama are also planning to make new laws that will enable them to cut down the number of people incarcerated due to possession of small amounts of drugs, allowing them to save on prison costs.
Do you agree that non-violent drug offenders should be given reprieve? Voice your opinions in the comments section below – your opinion matters to the nation.