Jeff Mizanskey has left a state prison after serving more than twenty years for marijuana charges. He was released Tuesday from the Jefferson City Correctional Center.

Chris and Jeff Mizanskey pictured as Jeff leaves prison

“I hope nobody will ever have to go through what I did. Its hell,” said Mizanskey.

He said the realization that he’s now a free man is sinking in.

“I’ve been through courts and thought that things would change and should’ve changed. Nothing has ever happened,” said Mizanskey. “I had a lot of high hopes through those times. I’ve taught myself not to keep those high hopes up. I’ve been keeping them all the way down. Really, everything is just hitting me right now.”

Mizanskey was the only man sentenced to life without parole for marijuana possession and distribution under a persistent offender sentencing law from the 1990s that has since been changed.

A petition with nearly 400,000 signatures was delivered to Governor Jay Nixon in April requesting clemency for Mizanskey and in May the Governor commuted his sentence, giving him his first chance at parole. Two weeks ago, the parole board granted his release.