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Missouri Man Serving Life In Prison Without Parole For Marijuana Convictions


jail prison marijuana missouriBy Tony Nenninger, Attorney at Law

When I met Jeff Mizanskey’s son at a Show-Me Cannabis Regulation statewide meeting in 2012, I already knew about countless nightmares peaceful citizens had suffered because of cannabis prohibition, but I could hardly believe there was someone in Missouri serving life without parole for a cannabis-only offense. After meeting Jeff in the Jefferson City maximum security prison and reviewing his legal records, I know this is a nightmare he will die in prison with if we on the outside do not help. Jeff’s family and I shared his hopes that the proposed initiative petition provision to release all cannabis-only offenders from prison, probation, and parole would awaken Jeff and others from the nightmare of cannabis prohibition and we continue to hope future proposals will include this provision.

In 1993, a vehicle was stopped for a traffic violation and 84 pounds of cannabis was found. The transporters agreed to assist police in arresting the intended recipient. An audiovisual recording police made with hidden equipment shows the transporters and the police were surprised that Jeff drove the intended recipient to the motel for the meeting. Jeff and the intended recipient were arrested as they left the motel room. Seven pounds of cannabis was found under the intended recipient’s jacket. Only three grams of cannabis was found in Jeff’s pocket, but he was prosecuted for aiding the intended recipient in possessing cannabis with intent to distribute. The transporters were never charged. The intended recipient pleaded guilty and received a ten year sentence. Jeff contested his charges and, after a jury convicted him, a judge sentenced him to life. (It is not clear from the record whether the now-deceased judge intended to deny the possibility of parole, but, based on the Court Clerk’s entries on the judgment form, Jeff is being held without parole).

Jeff was sentenced under Missouri law as a prior and persistent drug offender because he had three prior cannabis-only felony convictions. In 1984, Jeff sold one ounce to an informant, who obtained a search warrant for Jeff’s house where over 35 grams was found the next day. In 1991, Jeff pleaded guilty to possessing over 35 grams. He was arrested in December of 1993 for his current charges and has been incarcerated ever since. Jeff has no other criminal record. There was no violence, guns, juveniles or other aggravating factors involved in any of his convictions. Jeff has been an ideal inmate who has maintained good behavior and prison jobs during his incarceration. Jeff has has made numerous unsuccessful attempts to get relief from the Missouri Court of Appeals and Federal Courts during the past 20 years of his incarceration.

Jeff recently submitted an application for executive clemency to Governor Nixon asking that his sentence be commuted to time served. Many prisoners make these applications. It is rare that a case gets enough of a Governor’s attention to be seriously considered. However, like all politicians, Governor Nixon will notice if enough citizens call a political issue to his attention. That is why Jeff and I are asking that concerned citizens write a short letter today to Governor Nixon asking that he commute Jeff Mizanskey’s sentence to time served.

Please e-mail a copy of any such letter to me so that we can keep track of citizen support to end this senseless nightmare. Jeff and I thank you for your personal assistance.

Source: National Cannabis Coalitionmake a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. Dana Steinhoff Hawn on

    God bless your family in this battle Angela. I am sure with enough pressure things could be changed.

  2. Don’t turn this into a color issue. Its a fucked up system. And while we fight over skin color they still put people away stop being simple and realize who the real enemy is sheeple.

  3. See Family right here, this is what I’m talking about two systems of Criminal Justice a Black man gets Life for Seven Pounds of Marijuana with out Parole. That’s just crazy when i know there are some white men out there that had way more Marijuana then this poor brother and believe me i’m not trying to say he should not have been charged for his wrong doing, But LIFE without PAROLE, that’s a Judge who hates drug offenders or hates Black Men! Family this is why I say don’t do the Crime in the first place and hopefully you will never find yourself in this position. I Pray for this brother. All I can say is Stay Strong my Brother Stay Strong. Peace And Love, With Power To The People. The MellowOne-Jeff. Jeff Lewis 100% Detroit.

  4. Okay. I sent my message to Gov. Nixon. Interesting name, under the circumstances. Yes, I gave my real name. Yes, I gave my real address. Yes, I gave my real phone number. We HAVE to be heard. We HAVE to speak out against these kinds of injustices. These laws MUST be changed.
    My family, too, was once totally disrupted by the war against Cannabis in particular and against drugs in general. Few families have not been torn apart in some way by these Draconian laws. The talking needs to give way to actions that speak louder than words. These politicians are voted in by us. They owe it to us to represent us. We must put aside our own fears and face them head on with a unified and clear voice.
    They repealed prohibition against alcohol and it’s past time for us to repeal the laws that made Cannabis illegal, too.
    I hope that this one governor will find it in his heart to release this one man from a life (to death) sentence. To Jeff’s family and his brave lawyer Tony I can only say: Never give up until he is able to hold you close under the warm sun as a free man.

  5. That’s some straight bs putting him down for life on some fukin weed charge my old neighbor only did 23yrs for a double murder and killed another person across the street and Only did 3 DAYS FOR STABBING THIS GUY TO DEATH called it self defense!! And he already killed 2 ppl before the third so he had a extensive felony background and out in 3 days…SET JEFF FREE HE AINT DID SHIT TO BE PUT AWAY FOR LIFE

  6. I just wanted it to be known, I have written a letter and I am truly horrified that a man has lost 20 years of his life( something that he will never get back) because of a plant that the federal GOV is now testing to help children with epilepsy.
    Some Free Country!!!!

  7. So very wrong hope he gets out soon.People get a lot less time in prison for killing or harming children their the ones that should be locked up for life.

  8. I’m really not sure how to go about getting you his addres?? Don’t really wanna just post it on a site! Although he’d probably love to hear from people all over the world!

  9. I feel bad for jeff and his family . hope he gets out soon . putting people in jail for marijuana is wrong in so many ways . his whole family has been put thru hell

  10. thats just wrong. missouri troopers love to sit on the side of the interstate and profile out of state drivers. i have seen the rolla dea. fake checkpoints on I -44 and roadside search and seizure with tx-ca. and az. plates for many years . now the gov. see’s cannabis as a cash cow ( after the way it’s being taxed in co. ) and thats the only thing that will help us make it legal . like neil young sings — homegrown’s allright with me .

  11. wow meanwhile in Hazard i mean AZ foster moms accused of murder get 6 whole months Prison with 4 darn years probation! It is truly a f’d up FLAWED system. I pray for you and yours.

  12. do you have an address that I can contact Jeff at?
    I would like to write to him.
    No-one belongs in jail for a plant.

  13. Thank you all so much it truly means a lot to me and my family! Please keep writing the governor of missouri and posting on your fb my uncle jeff has spent more than enough time he is not a criminal that has killed some one! He was a hard working man that took care of his family before this happen in 1993. Once again thank each and every one of you!

  14. richard jenkins on

    done but not finished…we need to free this man and all others serving time for this miraculous plant

  15. Looks like the esteemed St. Louis River Front Times is on the case! (Love your website, Ray.)

  16. Fascinating and horrifying story. (No discovery whatsoever? Ridiculous. Incompetent counsel? Figures.) I guess the U.S., like other countries, makes foreigners disappear within its “systems.” Thanks for the link.

  17. Hi Angela,

    My name is Ray Downs and I’m a journalist in St. Louis. I’d like to speak with you if you have a few minutes. Send me an email at: ray.downs [at] riverfronttimes.com.

    Thank you,


  18. Sent an email to the MO. Guv. Took about 5 minutes and I felt good doing it. Reposted on my FB page. Hope he gets some help. It costs taxpayers 40,000 a year to keep him in jail.

  19. This is ridiculous and stupid! This man has served more than enough time and is well overdue to being a Freeman! He needs to come home to his family and friends who have missed out on having him as a father, a brother, an uncle and son..I cannot believe the injustice this man has received!

  20. jeff is as well my uncle I’m truly thankful someone is trying to help as my sister said we haven’t seen jeff in forever all though I was lucky enough to have seen him last year on a visit at jccc in Jefferson mo no one can imagine what he has missed out on new additions to the family weddings an holidays I saw this today an had to shed some tears it breaks my heart knowing he may never get to come home an I know its killing him being away from those who love him an honestly I give thanks to anyone an everyone who is caring enough to take a few minutes out of their lives to try an help a stranger shows there is still kind hearted people still out there…….from my heart thank you for sharing this with the world

  21. Jeff is my uncle i haven’t seen him in almost 20 years if I remember right he is 57 this year. Thank you so much for your support!!

  22. If the governor of Missouri does not immediately release this man, he should be removed from office.
    What the hell is going on in our ‘free country’?

  23. Harold Caskey’s Senate Bill Five won’t save him he need’s a Habeas Corpus or has he been to the legal law library for help that’s how I got out of Cameron Crosswards

  24. OMG! He hasn’t hurt anyone. People that hurt children and animals do no time. THIS IS SOOOO WRONG!!!!!

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