Peake: "I still got a big mountain to climb" over medical marijuana bill

by: Lori Geary Updated:

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ATLANTA —

One day after a huge victory in the Georgia House, supporters of a medical marijuana bill are turning their attention to the Senate.
 
The bill's main sponsor is talking about non-profit medical marijuana providers in Georgia.
 
State Rep. Allen Peake says he knows even talking about medical marijuana dispensaries is a huge political risk in Georgia, but says lawmakers may have to follow the 20 other states that have legalized medical marijuana in order to help patients here who suffer from severe epilepsy, glaucoma and cancer. 
 
“I still got a big mountain to climb,” Peake told Channel 2’s Lori Geary. “We've still got an access issue.”
 
Geary sat down with Peake, who is championing the bill on behalf of families like the Cox's, who live in his district.
 
Four-year old Haleigh Cox suffers from a severe seizure disorder. Kids with similar symptoms in Colorado are seeing a huge improvement after just the first dose of a certain strain of cannabis oil. 
 
But even if the Georgia bill passes as is, it would be up to medical research institutions here to grow and dispense it, something they're not likely to do because they risk losing all of their federal funding.
 
Peake says he knows it's politically risky but he says it may be time for Georgia to follow the other 20 states where medical cannabis is legal.
 
“It may be prudent for us to at least have a discussion about a very tightly restricted, very tightly regulated nonprofit dispensary model that's worked in other states,” Peake told Geary.
 
Peake says although only four house members voted against the bill, the Senate may be a tougher fight. 
 
“Over 200 families in Colorado, a 100 percent success rate, a 100 percent seeing reduction is seizures, some a total elimination of seizures.  There's something there and we need to make this available for parents and families to make a choice if they want to use this medical cannabis for their children,” Peake said.