Medical Marijuana Bill Filed in the Georgia House

You might have said it was Allen Peake day at the Gold Dome. Sure, the House honored the National Guard and celebrated Korean American Day. But for Rep. Peake, it was time to file House Bill 1, the 2015 version of Peake’s medical marijuana bill.

Surrounded by families of children who will benefit from medical marijuana, Rep. Peake answers questions at an afternoon press conference.  Photo:  Jon Richards
Surrounded by families of children who will benefit from medical marijuana, Rep. Peake answers questions at an afternoon press conference. Photo: Jon Richards

The morning started with Rep. Peake in the House anteroom, corralling other representatives to co-sign his bill. After the House convened, he took to the well to announce he would drop the bill later in the day, and then he prowled the floor asking for and getting the signatures of almost 100 co-sponsors, including Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones, Appropriations Chair Terry England and Rules Chair John Meadows.

The bill bears the signatures of almost 100 co-signers.
The bill bears the signatures of almost 100 co-signers.
At an early afternoon ceremony, Peake invited many families who will benefit from the bill’s passage to join him in the House chamber to deliver the bill to the House clerk. He handed the bill to a young child, whose father held her in his arms as he walked to the clerk’s desk to drop the bill.

At a press conference, Peake explained that he hoped the bill would be assigned to a committee on Tuesday, and that hearings would be held next week. Peake is pushing for quick passage in both chambers, and wants it on Governor Deal’s desk within a month. Noting that there are at least seventeen families who are medical refugees right now who could get relief as soon as the bill was signed into law, Peake said, “This is a big step.”

Some of the bill’s supporters were disappointed earlier in the month, when a plan to allow the manufacture of the low-THC oil in Georgia was scuttled, following a meeting between Peake and Governor Deal. This version of the bill will provide immunity to anyone possessing cannabidiol oil in the Peach State. The challenge, of course, is getting the oil from a state where it is permitted, like Colorado, back to Georgia. Peake has four options in mind that could get the oil to Georgia.

One option would be to get a manufacturer of oil with a very low THC content to ship it to Georgia. This might not be the most effective strain of the drug, but it would be better than nothing, and the manufacturer is awaiting approval of the immunity language in order to begin shipping it to here. Another option would be to get a manufacturer in a neighboring state to make the type of oil used in Colorado. Presumably with the oil legal in Georgia and the neighboring state, the only risk would occur when crossing state lines. A third option would be to have Governor Deal to pursue an exemption from the U.S. Department of Justice to exempt Georgia from the federal law banning marijuana.

The fourth option calls for civil disobedience, where Peake himself would travel to Colorado and bring the oil back himself. He stressed that he didn’t want the families of sick children breaking the law, though.

In the end, Peake admitted, the best solution would be for the U.S. Congress to take medical marijuana off its present Schedule 1 classification, a classification which says it has no medical purpose. And indeed, a bill to legalize a Charlotte’s web strain at the federal level has been introduced.

For Peake, maybe the second best thing would be to get his bill on the Governor’s desk. Despite a standoff with the Senate late last session that prevented the bill’s passage, Peake is optimistic. Based on the Senate Majority Caucus press conference earlier in the day, he may very well be justified in his optimism.

15 comments

  1. Rick Day says:

    Those who are well educated on this issue do not support this bill. It does too little for too few, and kicks the can down the road when it comes to growing cannabis in the State of GA.

    This bill is a slap in the face of farmers and land owners in Georgia. Something easily manufactured here is now going to some pharmaceutical company for a monopoly on a salve that has extremely liming ameliorating effects, when looking at the efficacy of the entourage, or whole plant effect.

    This is like producing orange garnish and declaring it the same as a whole fruit.

    I reckon its time for some of the more ardent, hard-core legalizers to start getting in some faces over this, while they are stirring up voter unrest.

    Yeah, you keep thinking we are ‘fringe’. It is in our best interest you underestimate the power of 65% of the population.

    SR6
    #LetGeorgiansDecide

    • TheEiger says:

      I will be completely honest. I respect your opinion on legalizing marijuana over many others because you don’t hide your reasoning. I have no problem with a state deciding whether that state wants to legalize marijuana. I could care less. It should be up to the states. To be honest I prefer a bunch of pot heads at home rather than a bunch of drunk drivers on the road. With that said, I do not like the fact that very sick children are being used as a tool to start the path of legalization of marijuana.

      • John Konop says:

        It is a 2 fold issue….talk to anyone who has dealt with chemotherapy….I have made no secret about being agains the war on drugs failed strategy…with that said, pot really does have medical uses…I can see no rational reason why not let it be used for that purpose…..

      • wowFAD says:

        Actually, the people using the sick children, at this point, are the people pushing this bill — not the legalization advocates. The folks who followed HB885 last year, as well as similar legislation in other states, understand better than anyone that the four options suggested in this article are unrealistic. We went through the issue of sourcing the oil for the kids, last year. Everyone (including Allen Peake) learned that growing and processing it locally in Georgia was our only option because it cannot cross state lines. We’ve known this since February 2014. That’s why Peake spent the better part of two months stumping for his bill including in-state cultivation.

        Now, the bill has been gutted of its cultivation provisions, but Peake doesn’t want to look like he caved and let down the kids on whom he’s been propping his career aspirations. He’s done nothing but stump for his bill for months. But now, Allen Peake has been in damage control mode ever since the governor told him to neuter his bill. That’s why we’re hearing about these four bogus options that will not work. Spend ten minutes on Google and you’ll find out why they won’t. It’s against federal law to cross state lines. It’s against most state laws to leave the state with cannabis products. The DEA will never grant an exemption because that would acknowledge a Schedule 1 substance has medical value — Cuomo tried it in New York. We went through ALL of this already, last year.

        The kick to the teeth — the proof that Allen Peake is disgustingly using these kids and this issue to propel his political career — Allen Peake has zero intention of “civil disobedience.” He’d have to be dumb as a rock to flagrantly declare his criminal intent to every journalist willing to listen. Peake just wants people to THINK he’s going to do it; he wouldn’t be TELLING folks if he was actually going to become an interstate drug mule. He’s all talk. He wants people to believe he’s a hero after he folded like a cheap suit to the governor.

    • Three Jack says:

      You’re spot on Rick.

      If this were a measure to entice another form of manufacturing, it would be loaded with numerous tax incentives to attract the company. Why are GOPers turning away a boost in manufacturing jobs?

      • Rick Day says:

        The thing that irks me most of all is how this was politically handled. Deal …whats’ the right word.. merely willed this tactic into existence, and with just as much power, willed any other legislation moot. I mean, if we have a king giving edicts to His Loyal Brethren, why even go through the farce of a representative government?

        Peake had no say. Your representative has no say in this matter, perhaps all matters? Why does the GOP constituency support government by fiat? Doesn’t it irk you? It irks me.

        • Jon Richards says:

          Rick, I think that’s called negotiating. Peake went to Deal to find out how much he would be on board with and ended up modifying his bill so there would be something (knowing there were other options to get the oil into Georgia if it could be legalized here.)

          If anything, the question to ask is why the governor wasn’t willing to go further than this, and I would say part of the reason is SB 6, which would more or less allow for complete legalization of marijuana. Even though it was a separate bill, it may have been a step too far to contemplate.

          • John Konop says:

            Very good point….in many states the medical pot use has been stretched…..we have the same issue with many other drugs….should would deny people pain, ADD….medicine because it is abused by some people…..it seems rather illogical…..I really think the problem is we have people on the right and left that want to be social engineers…..At the end of day the real question is how much of a roll should the government play in social behavior police….I lean toward if you do not hurt other people, than what you do in the privacy of your home is your business. That really is the debate question in general…..The more we try to be social engineers ie War on drugs, NCLB…..it blows up in our face….just my 10 cents….

  2. Ghost of William F. Buckley says:

    Children, the weak, sick, poor, and defenseless are and will always be ‘used’ to pass legislation. It is a time honored tradition to bring awareness to those who cannot speak for themselves. While it may appear unseemly, cheap, or even desperate, the fact remains those kids need this therapy and seeing their little faces helps the dry business of policy making more real.

    Rick Day good on you for having the cahones to speak your mind and sign your name.

    Those empowered to represent their Districts please note that legalized recreational use of weed may go against every fiber of your moral code, and even that of your Constituents, but it will come to pass. Maybe not ever in Georgia, but our rival, North Carolina may see legalization become possible, perhaps sooner.

    A decision for another session, that much is certain. Thank you Sen. Curt Thompson for at least broaching the subject.

  3. wowFAD says:

    What’s frustrating me is that overriding the governor’s veto only requires a 2/3’s majority. One would think a bill with over 100 cosponsors would have little difficulty achieving a 2/3’s majority and overriding the governor’s threatened veto of any bill that might actually WORK.

    By that, I mean a bill which includes in-state cultivation and processing. We went through all this nonsense over trying to avoid growing it ourselves, last year. We bent over backwards trying to protect the misapprehension that there’s something inherently evil about this plant, which is why HB885 was such a horrendous waste of time — it wouldn’t have helped anybody even if it had passed. Now, HB1 is just as worthless. It won’t help anyone, either.

    We already had the sourcing discussion during the 2014 session, and we already did the study commission thing in the summer. There’s no need to repeat 2014. Our lawmakers had a year to get up to speed with the EXISTING research, but they did everything they could to obstinately ignore it. All they could do was take turns wasting time publicly decrying anyone getting high. And as a result, this pathetic bill won’t help anybody, let alone children with intractable epilepsy.

    It’s 2015 and the hippies are dead and gone. It’s time for you stupid dinosaurs to let go of your stupid 40-year-old prejudices because it is LITERALLY costing lives. I’m sick of entertaining arguments against growing a harmless plant as if they have merit because some idiots still can’t handle using the internet. Not knowing is no longer an excuse! Use the Google, damn it.

    EVEN NORTH DAKOTA IS CONSIDERING A BETTER BILL. And they’re doing it with bipartisan support and without getting their underwear in a twist over people getting high. Their bill allows for just as many conditions as Peake’s bill, but it allows people to grow their own medication, which means they can actually GET IT (unlike Peake’s bill). It’s nice to know the legislators in OTHER states aren’t as worthless as Allen Peake.

  4. chharshman says:

    As an MS sufferer I’m sick of hearing about kids with seizures. I have neurologic pain that fentanyl doesn’t even start to touch. When I go to a new doctor and they ask me if I take anything for “break out pain” I ask them if they have any suggestions. They look at my current medication list, give me a horrible look, turn and run away in silence. We have tried everything. All the drugs, even went as far as to have them shove a wire up inside my Dural space (inside my spine) while I was AWAKE. The pain meds they gave me during that procedure didn’t start to touch the pain I had they kept pumping more and more drugs and it still was excruciating. The need for this is idiotic. This should be a class 2 narcotic by now.

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