The war on medical marijuana is over - that’s what some are saying following a decision Friday by the federal government to ease its stance on the drug.
But the fight continues in Georgia.
Patients can have it, but they can’t get it in the state.
Despite overwhelming support from voters to grow medical marijuana in our state, the Georgia commission on medical cannabis recently said no thanks.
For the first time Allen Peake, the Macon representative behind the medical cannabis effort is speaking out about what he believes caused this massive setback.
Marijuana is used to make Cannabidiol oil which is used for medical purposes in the states that allow it. (Photo: WXIA-TV, Atlanta)
The push to legalize and expand medical marijuana in Georgia has seen its share of ups and downs.
Macon representative Allen Peake has been on the front lines of it all.
“We’ve faced a lot of challenges in this effort over the last two years,” said Rep. Allen Peake, (R) Macon.
Peake was instrumental in getting a bill passed that allows certain patients in Georgia to possess and use cannabis oil, but it remains illegal to grow and produce.
“I think there’s a concern that it can’t be controlled, and I think those are false fears.”
Those fears were on full display at the last Georgia Commission on Medical Cannabis hearing when the group voted not to make a cultivation recommendation to Governor Nathan Deal.
“Cultivation of marijuana is against federal law and as a law enforcement officer I’m not going to support anything that is contrary to federal law - not contrary just violates federal law,” said Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Director Vernon Keenan.
GBI and Georgia Sheriff’s Association officials accompanied Peake on a fact finding mission to Colorado in November.
“They heard the horror stories,” said Peake.
Colorado, a place where medical and recreational marijuana is legal, versus Minnesota, a place Peake visited, recently.
It's also one with a very strict, controlled medical marijuana law.
“If I made one tactical error, it’s that we went to Colorado first rather than going to a Minnesota,” Peake said.
But what’s done is done, and the task ahead this legislative session is a tall one.
“It’s going to be a miracle to pull it off but for the sake of hurting citizens in Georgia I am hopeful we can get there.”
A miracle not unlike the one they pulled off in 2015.
The new fight begins January 11th day one of the 2016 legislative session.
Under that federal spending bill passed Friday retail operations in states where medical marijuana is legal no longer have to worry about federal drug raids.