While the Georgia legislature has done its best to avoid passing measures intended to create a functional medical marijuana program, one state lawmaker believes this reform would pass without incident if simply given the opportunity to go before the voters.
That’s why Representative Allen Peake, a man who is often considered the “Godfather of the Medical Marijuana Movement” in the state of Georgia, plans to introduce a piece of legislation in the coming weeks aimed at giving the voting public the ability to cast an opinion on the subject of marijuana reform.
The proposed referendum, which would be slated for the ballot in 2018, specifically intends to seal the argument on whether the state should allow cannabis to be grown throughout the state. As it stands, the current state law allows only certain patients to possess cannabis oil, but it also forces them to break Uncle Sam’s rules by smuggling it in from a legal state.
Representative Peake has felt in necessary in the past to make compromises to the language of his medical marijuana proposals, agreeing to eliminate any mention of cultivation and distribution from his previous offerings in exchange for a signature from Governor Nathan Deal. But after two years of this nonsense, the lawmaker feels the time has come for the state to wax Democratic on the issue, giving the voters the right to decide the next move.
“We would let the citizens of the state decide whether to go down this path or not,” Peake told the Telegraph.
One of the other battles Peake hopes to remedy in the 2017 session is the expansion of qualified conditions allowed under state law. The current statute only gives people with around eight serious conditions the ability to participate in the program. However, Peake hopes to broaden the reach by including HIV/AIDS, autism, intractable pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Tourettes’s syndrome.
In a recent Facebook post, Peake pledged to continue fighting to ensure Georgia patients receive the medicine they need—safely and legally.
“We will not stop fighting for Georgians to have legal access to safe, lab-tested medical cannabis oil HERE in Georgia,” he wrote. “There are many obstacles in our way, including opposition from law enforcement and some faith based organizations including the Faith & Freedom Coalition and the Georgia Baptists Association, so the challenge is great.”
One of the latest polls reveals that that 81.8 percent of Georgia’s residents support expanding the state’s medical marijuana program. Another 61.5 percent said they would support allowing the herb to be smoked as opposed to placing restrictions on consumption methods.
The Georgia legislature is scheduled to reconvene at the beginning of next week. If lawmakers approve Peake’s proposal, voters would decide on the issue in the 2018 election.
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