Activists Furious over Changes to Peake’s Medical Cannabis Bill
(APN) ATLANTA — Medical cannabis activists in Georgia are livid after State Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) sent out a press release stating that he would gut his own medical cannabis bill, HB 1, following a meeting with Gov. Nathan Deal.
“I have been in intense conversations with the Governor over the last several days about HB 1, and I view today’s progress as a huge step in the right direction,” Rep. Peake said in a statement.
“After much discussion, it is clear that we need to conduct more research on setting an in-state growing scenario in order to provide the best and most effective infrastructure for our citizens,” Peake said.
Peake had committed to introducing a bill that included a medical cannabis program in Georgia, that allowed prescription by doctors, licensed growing of cannabis in Georgia, and dispensaries.
However, Deal apparently told Peake that he was not prepared to allow this to go forward in Georgia.
The remaining legislation promises to provide immunity to people who are found with CBD oil, with THC up to five percent, in Georgia, along with yet another study committee.
Peake’s statement cites the “creation of a council whose sole charge will be to examine the future establishment of a regulatory model for an in-state growth and distribution infrastructure in Georgia. The committee will also be charged with making its recommendations to the General Assembly by December 31, 2015.”
Peake’s statement promises immunity, but it is not immediately clear if law enforcement finds CBD oil, whether that would be the end of the inquiry, or whether patients or their parents would have to show records that the oil was obtained in a medicinal cannabis state like Colorado.
James Bell, of Georgia CARE, told Atlanta Progressive News that Peake and Gov. Deal are “putting a very positive spin on something very bad.”
“The bill’s dead as far as Allen [Peake] is concerned. It’s a very bad deal tonight. Our issue with Allen was – what did it include? We finally got him to expand the bill,” Bell said of the various advocacy efforts over the last several months since the 2014 Legislative Session ended.
“It was all about Nathan, what will Nathan accept, and apparently Nathan said ‘I won’t accept any of that, not this year,’” Bell said.
“We need to let Gov. Deal know how disappointed we are. I’m not sure what we can do. Frankly, we’re stunned – I’m stunned,” Bell said.
“This all protects GW Pharmaceuticals and their clinical trials. Deal wants to give money to [Georgia Regents University Augusta] for study – eight million dollars per year… why do taxpayers have to pay for GW’s experimental drug?” Bell said.
“Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta may be part of this research also – they’re gonna spread this eight million dollars to various agencies,” Bell said.
“A lot of people spent a lot of time and effort on all this for it to come down to this tonight… Nathan has basically slammed the door on it all,” Bell said.
“My advice to Allen would be move forward with the Cmte process; if it passes, send it to the Governor and let him veto it. It looks like he doesn’t have the clout or the fortitude to do something like that,” Bell said.
“Decriminalization would be effective as soon as the Governor signs HB 1 into law. Families in Georgia who are seeking medical cannabis will now be able to go to another state to legally obtain the treatment and then come back home without fear of being prosecuted in Georgia,” Peake’s statement said.