Jeff Mizanskey was sentenced to life in prison without parole for a marijuana charge - but on Tuesday, after spending more than two decades behind bars, he walked out a free man.
Grinning from ear-to-ear, the 62-year-old was released from a Missouri prison and was finally able to meet his great-grandchildren.
He said he was looking forward to a breakfast of eggs and steak before looking for a job, The Associated Press reported.
Mizanskey walked free after years of lobbying from family, friends, lawmakers, and advocates for the legalization of marijuana, who argued that his sentence was too harsh.
He was sentenced in 1996 after police said he conspired to sell six pounds of pot to a dealer with connections to Mexican drug cartels. Since he already had two previous drug convictions, he was sentenced to life without parole under Missouri law for persistent drug offenders.
He was the only Missouri inmate serving such a long sentence for a non-violent marijuana offense. In May, Governor Jay Nixon commuted his sentence.
Now that he's out, Mizanskey is committed to helping others still in prison. He also said he plans to focus on issues like prison reform and legalizing marijuana in Missouri.
“We've got a lot of work to do to get this legalized. Nobody deserves to be in there for marijuana," he told KMBC. "I'll be going around talking to a lot of people. I don't know if I'll always be politically correct, but I know that it'll be coming from my heart."
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