JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Sedalia man on parole after a commutation of his life sentence for a marijuana-related charge visited some of the legislators that made his release possible Thursday.

Jeff Mizanskey, who in 1996 was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to sell marijuana, met with Reps. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, and Jeremy LaFaver, D-Kansas City, who argued that the sentence levied against Mizanskey was too harsh. They also visited Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, but he was not in his office at the time.

Rep. Shamed Dogan (right) meets with Jeff Mizanskey, a man released from prison last year after his life sentence was commuted by Gov. Jay Nixon. (Travis Zimpfer/The Missouri Times)
Rep. Shamed Dogan (right) meets with Jeff Mizanskey, a man released from prison last year after his life sentence was commuted by Gov. Jay Nixon. (Travis Zimpfer/The Missouri Times)

Mizanskey essentially became something of a folk hero for those who advocate ending the prohibition on marijuana, both medical and recreational, and his case received national attention.

Gov. Jay Nixon commuted Mizanskey’s sentence in May 2015, and the latter became a free man in September of that year. In his visit to the Capitol, Mizanskey, as well as his son, Chris, and a few others traveling with him, expressed the urge to meet with Nixon as well. They did leave a message of thanks with his staff.

Mizanskey took time to discuss with legislators some of the problems circulating around his sentencing, including marijuana law and judicial and prison reform. He was also clearly grateful to Dogan and LaFaver.

“This man saved my life,” Mizanskey said of Dogan in his office.

After the two spoke for a time about Dogan’s upcoming legislation this year as well as sentencing laws, Dogan returned the sentiment, noting how just over a year ago, he first heard about Mizanskey’s case after Chris informed him about it.

“Just to go from that to you sitting in here, it’s great,” Dogan remarked.