Peake Issues Statement After “Emotional” Medical Cannabis Hearing.

We received a statement from Rep. Allen Peake, who is Chairing a study committee looking into the feasibility of expanding the use of medical cannabis to treat seizure disorders.

Among the witness to appear before the committee were parents of children who suffer from seizure disorders. Peake said:

“These families are in a desperate search for this type of treatment; one that would allow them to remain with their families here in Georgia. So many families in Georgia have been separated in a grave attempt to find relief for their children, while some aren’t capable of picking up their lives and moving across the country. We heard from families who have been lifelong residents of our state, love this state, and want to come home and be reunited with their loved ones. Though I will never be able to fully understand the struggles that these families are facing, hearing these testimonies allows us to get a brief look into their lives and understand the potential benefits of this treatment. We have the opportunity to give these families a better life, and I look forward to continue working with my colleagues in the House, the Senate and with Governor Deal to find this solution.”

The entire press release can be seen below the fold.

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rep. Peake Comments after Hearing Testimony from Those Seeking Medical Cannabis Oil

MACON, GA — State Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) today released the following statement after the Prescription of Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions Joint Study Committee heard testimony from citizens and families who desire medical cannabis:

“Today’s hearing was a very emotional, yet important piece to this puzzle. Hearing from families who are seeking medical cannabis treatment allows us to put a face to this discussion and lets us hear firsthand testimonies and stories of successful medical cannabis treatment. We heard numerous stories from parents and patients who have taken a cocktail of FDA approved medications and been on diets that mimicked starvation – all while seeing little to no improvements and some even stating that the symptoms increasingly worsened.

“We also had the unique opportunity today to hear from growers and operators of dispensary chains in other states where it is legal. One individual, a grower from Colorado who has provided cannabis oil to many families, including some from Georgia, explained the rigorous process and inspection that this product goes through before being given to patients. Again, we were able to hear clear evidence from residents of other states that have been through this process.

“These families are in a desperate search for this type of treatment; one that would allow them to remain with their families here in Georgia. So many families in Georgia have been separated in a grave attempt to find relief for their children, while some aren’t capable of picking up their lives and moving across the country. We heard from families who have been lifelong residents of our state, love this state, and want to come home and be reunited with their loved ones. Though I will never be able to fully understand the struggles that these families are facing, hearing these testimonies allows us to get a brief look into their lives and understand the potential benefits of this treatment. We have the opportunity to give these families a better life, and I look forward to continue working with my colleagues in the House, the Senate and with Governor Deal to find this solution.”

At today’s meeting, the committee heard testimony from parents with children who have seizure disorders, mitochondrial disease and who are diagnosed with autism, as well as citizens with post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and other diagnoses who desire medical cannabis to treat these illnesses.
The committee will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, October 1, at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville. Additional meeting details will be forthcoming.

The Prescription of Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions Joint Study Committee was created by SR 981 following the 2014 legislative session. Committee members include: Sen. Renee Unterman (co-chair), Rep. Allen Peake (co-chair), Sen. Dean Burke (R – Bainbridge), Sen. Butch Miller (R – Gainesville), Sen. Curt Thompson (D – Tucker), Rep. Rich Golick (R – Smyrna), Rep. Micah Gravley (R – Douglasville), and Rep. Margaret Kaiser (D – Atlanta). Rep. Peake co-chairs this study committee, along with Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford).
For more information on the Prescription of Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions Joint Study Committee, click here.

Representative Allen Peake represents the citizens of District 141, which includes portions of Bibb and Monroe counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2006, and currently serves as the Secretary and Treasurer of the House Majority Caucus, the Vice Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, and the Ex-Officio of the Appropriations Committee. He also serves on the Health & Human Services, Rules, and Small Business Development committees.

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21 comments

  1. xdog says:

    If Peake wants to make cannabis oil available to Georgia residents that’s fine with me, but it would be nice if he could muster any medical evidence that it is effective in relieving symptoms of kids suffering from chronic seizures. Otherwise it will rank somewhere between New Age fixer-upper and placebo.

    ‘Chronic pain’ was the choice of tens of thousands of Colorado citizens who wanted a scrip for medical marijuana when it first became available. If Georgia follows suit by allowing the stuff with THC to be sold legally here, look for the same. God knows there’s been enough going on in the state to give us all a permanent pain in the posterior.

    • dsean says:

      “If Peake wants to make cannabis oil available to Georgia residents that’s fine with me, but it would be nice if he could muster any medical evidence that it is effective in relieving symptoms of kids suffering from chronic seizures.”

      I’ll stipulate that more trials are needed (and currently forbidden under federal law), but there actually is medical evidence that compounds in CBD oil as well as whole plant cannabis offers relief for seizures:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24237632
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24854329
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24854149
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3481523/
      http://www.gwpharm.com/GW%20Pharmaceuticals%20Provides%20Update%20on%20Orphan%20Program%20in%20Childhood%20Epilepsy%20for%20Epidiolex.aspx (CBD Derivative Product)
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390807002511 (Animal study)
      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00702-008-0076-x (animal study)
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278584609003029 (animal study)

      I think the legislature should go further and fully decriminalize marijuana. It makes no sense that we expend tremendous resources to deprive people of their liberty over a relatively harmless plant.

      • xdog says:

        Thanks for the links. Understand that I’m not qualified to evaluate technical medical literature but I did glance at the abstracts and I didn’t read anything to change my view.

        One abstract referred to a ‘study’ that was a survey posted on facebook. Another admitted it ‘lacked data’ and was ‘anecdotal’. A third concerned a single subject who was dosed with both oil and THC. One was put out by a drug manufacturer. One was way too technical for me to follow except their statement that THC bypassed the blood-brain barrier. The others as you noted are animal studies.

        That’s about it. I feel for those kids and their parents but I’d feel worse if the state signed off on speculative treatment. If the legislature wants to fund studies that’s fine with me but they should avoid practicing medicine.

        On the matter of legalizing marijuana I agree with others here that it’s past due. Even decriminalizing it would help ease court and legal logjams.

    • Will Durant says:

      Well it certainly isn’t a “New Age fixer-upper” as it has been cultivated by man for “medicinal” purposes by shamans back into prehistory. We have written Chinese records of its use in their herbal medicines that date back 4,000 years. The main problem modern medicine has with it is the patents ran out before anyone ever thought of creating patents. Its inclusion as a Schedule I narcotic by the FDA which means it has no medical use makes their entire scheme a joke.

      • xdog says:

        Will, I’m very much aware that people have been enjoying cannabis ever since the first person found out how enjoyable cannabis is. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m referring to the idea that anecdotal ‘evidence’ can substitute for medical evidence. I apologize if I was glib but people have been taking psilocybin forever too and I don’t want the state to get in the business of telling people it’s OK to take it either without some backing knowledge.

        The fact is there are medical uses for marijuana such as reducing nausea in chemo patients and easing chronic pain. Those uses followed controlled evaluations not statements from desperate parents.

        There are people in other states gathering data now. If Peake wants to advocate a study in Georgia or piggyback on another state’s studies, that’s fine. But don’t make far-reaching decisions without some idea of what you’re getting in to.

        Limited access marijuana product laws (low THC/high CBD-cannabidiol: http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx#Table 2

  2. HueyMahl says:

    Just decriminalize it. We are jumping through hoops, wasting billions on a failed drug war, ruining lives by jailing non-violent offenders and depriving the sick of effective medicine all in the name of some type of misguided morality play.

  3. saltycracker says:

    The charge of the too narrowly focused committee should not be “should we ?” but how best to end this “war”. We have regulatory direction already in alcohol, cigarettes and pharma.
    Shifting it to a medical issue will be an “up in smoke”/”bad pill” moment for the judicial and law enforcement budgets.

    Legalize it, regulate it, control distribution and tax the heck out of it. Require prescription for minors (OTC for adults) and put a portion of the taxes in health care for abusers and medical research.

    • Three Jack says:

      I’m with HueyMahl on the decriminalization part, but not if it is legalized in order for the state to “tax the heck out of it”. Colorado slapped on a 33% tax when pot was legalized there resulting in a thriving black market just as it was before tax/legalization.

      • dsean says:

        Sure, but that’s a primarily a rate issue and a hangover from prohibition. Colorado has seen significant tax revenue in spite of the black market (at least $11m as of June) as well as significant savings from not having to feed, clothe, and house marijuana users in prison (I suspect that savings will ultimately overwhelm the tax revenue). The 33% rate may ultimately have to change depending on how the market reacts, but that’s not a reason to impose a tax at all.

      • saltycracker says:

        Well how about in the range of my beer, rum and scotch but maybe not like a good cigar…..?
        We just have to find that line that keeps the number of bootleggers down – but not so low to mess up a good reality TV show….

        • Three Jack says:

          That’ll work salty. I’m just weary of tax and spend pols getting their greedy paws on another stream of unrestricted revenue. Maybe if/when the stuff is made legal they can target the tax specifically for a need like transportation…smoke more pot = less gridlock.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        If there’s a black market at 33%, imagine what would happen to government budget if a national sales tax ever replaced income taxes.

  4. I had my boots on the ground activists there to give a first hand report on the meeting. Some highlights:

    1. the session went over by almost 90 minutes. The committee was determined to hear from all 15 patients who signed up to testify. Kudos to the committee for being determined to hear all witnesses.

    2. One retired USAF Col, (I think a former fighter pilot) in full uniform and a chest full of medals, came from NC to testify about how it helps him with PTSD. Peake thanked him for his service to the country at the end of his testimony. “If you want to thank me, don’t arrest me” was his reply. That brought smiles an applause from most of the room, except for..

    3. Renee Unterman. What a piece of work she was. Found more interesting things on the ceiling to look at instead of the the witnesses, or the big projection screen behind her bought-and-paid head of various before/after photos of children on the treatment. Left promptly at 3 because she had more important things to do. We are going to flex our strength and go after her this fall. If she does not care about helping citizens in need, then she is in the wrong position to work for the people. Plenty of nice photos of her body language. We understand there might be some pharma contributions to her effort. Any tips or chinks in her armor that someone can share would be enormously appreciated. To Renee: how can you sleep at night?

    4 The general consensus from at least one committee member is that we “just need to just get on with things” and move toward Colorado, despite what Alan St Pierre of NORML DC thinks about backwater Georgia.

    5. We feel confident that whoever champions the legalization effort in GA can be elected governor by popular election within 2-3 cycles. Which of you is willing to take the first step?

  5. ieee says:

    I feel as if I must start with a disclaimer lest you think you can just summarily dismiss anything I have to say – I *never* use marijuana or any other illegal drug.

    No drugs should be illegal in the U.S. Not marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or whatever. It is not my business what my neighbor down the street decides to put into his/her body. It is not your business either.

    What has happened to our once-great country where people really, really cannot mind their own business any longer? People just never seem to get enough of trying to control other people. We just cannot have enough laws, can we? Some of you are worse control freaks than ISIS.

    It should not be illegal for an individual to manufacture any drug either. Governments can provide legal, sanctioned sales for any of the products but the taxes should be reasonable. They should not look at it like a cash cow. Illicit drugs are unsavory, governments should stay out of the business.

    If all that happened, the failed War on Drugs could stop immediately and you wouldn’t need a quarter of those resources to manage any health issues. The War on Drugs is just an excuse for a bunch of self-righteous fruit-loops to play war games and get paid for it. Put them on the unemployment lines or working to stop actual crimes.

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