Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)

SEDALIA, Mo. (KMOX) – He once believed he was doomed to spend the rest of his life behind bars on marijuana charges.

But the 1st of September marked two years since Jeff Mizanskey walked out of a Missouri prison after being incarcerated for 21 years on a conviction for intent to distribute.

“Well, you know I lost an awful lot when I was in prison,” said Mizanskey, now 64. “Now I’m trying to make up things for the time that I lost, like retirement funds and stuff like that. I actually have none so I’m actually having to work now so that I have a little something that I can survive on.”

He savors time spent with his extended family, including a recently-born great-grandson.

When not working at his job in home construction, Mizanskey still keeps up a schedule of public speeches.

“I travel around the country speaking on prison reform and legalization efforts,” he explained. “I also go around collecting signatures for ‘New Approach’ for the legalization of medical cannabis.”

That said, his own personal use of marijuana is a thing of the past — at least for now.

“I’m still on parole so I don’t use it at all,” Mizanskey said. “And even if we get it legalized medically, I don’t know if I’ll be able to use it then. I’ve stated in a lot of my interviews and I’ll state it again — I won’t use it until I know I’m legal.”

He wishes he could use medicinal marijuana for the aches and pains that go along with getting older.

“I know how much benefit it could give me with lower back pain,” according to Mizanskey. “But I just have to grin and bear it because I won’t take any of those narcotics. It just makes people too loopy and I want to enjoy what life I have left.”

Mizanskey does believe that they’re chipping away at law banning cannabis use and that legalization from coast-to-coast is a matter of “when”, not “if”.

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