Georgia State representative Allen Peake has been fighting for medical marijuana in his state for some time now, being instrumental in a recent expansion of Georgia’s cannabis oil law that made it through the state House and Senate.
The Associated Press recently sat down with Rep. Peake to talk about medical marijuana and his efforts to get cannabis oil to patients in Georgia who need it. Even though there are patients who are qualified for the medicine in the state, they have no way of accessing it.
So every month a box arrives from Colorado at Rep. Peake’s office, full of cannabis oil. Peake then distributes that oil to patients. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to be able to help get product to these families, these citizens who have debilitating illnesses,” Peake told AP.
Peake gives away the oil, as selling it would be illegal in Georgia. The process that gets it to his office is a federal felony, but Peake maintains that he doesn’t inquire about that part. “Quite frankly, I don’t know how the product gets here,” Peake said.
When boxes arrive Peake makes donations to a foundation in Colorado that supports the research of medical marijuana, to the tune of about $100,000 a year (Peake is independently wealthy due to his ownership of more than 100 franchise restaurants). In this way, Peake stays (barely) within Georgia law.
He is also scrupulous when it comes to who gets the oil; patients must be among the roughly 1,300 that are registered with the state and are legally allowed to receive the oil. With the spotlight on his activities, Peake has to be careful. But he says it is worth it to be able to help sick people all over Georgia.
Rep. Peake even procured a medical marijuana card from the Georgia Department of Public Health to show to people as he promotes the state’s program. And even though he is not a qualified patient, “a card is a card, enabling Peake to legally possess the cannabis at his office,” according to AP.
From Peake the oil goes into an informal distribution network of patients and caregivers, people like Shannon Cloud, whose daughter suffers from the rare seizure disorder Dravet’s Syndrome. “It shouldn’t be this way,” she said to AP. “You shouldn’t be meeting at a gas station or a Target parking lot to get medicine to somebody. You should be going to the place where it is produced and tested to get it dispensed to you in a regulated manner, but this is what we’re forced to do.”