A Missouri man is finally free after serving 11 years behind bars over one pound of marijuana.
On Thursday, Robert Franklin was released from Moberly Correctional Center, located in Randolph County, Missouri—cutting short what had been a 22-year sentence.
In May, Franklin’s sentence was officially commuted by Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons.
“I’m breathing in free air,” Franklin said Thursday, as quoted by local television station KOMU. “It’s great. I’m excited. I’m elated. I got to hug my daughter.”
For Franklin, it is the culmination of a struggle that has spanned the better portion of the last decade.
In April, the Riverfront Times profiled Franklin, detailing how he “tossed a one-pound brick of marijuana out his SUV window—with two Missouri Highway Patrol troopers pursuing close behind” back in February of 2007.
Following Franklin’s 22-year sentence, the publication noted that “Missouri legalized medical cannabis and eliminated its harsh ‘three-strike’ mandatory minimum sentencing law that ensured repeat drug offenders—even those convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses like Franklin—would face a minimum of 10 years in prison without the possibility for parole.”
“I spent all of my 30s incarcerated,” Franklin told the Riverfront Times in a phone interview at the time from the correctional facility. “And it’s stressful knowing people are getting