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Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 6:08pm

Peake: Expand Medical Marijuana To More Georgians

The lawmaker behind a bill to legalize medical marijuana for seizure patients said Wednesday the state should go one step further.

Earlier this year, Representative Allen Peake, R-Macon, championed a bill that would legalize cannabis oil for patients with seizure disorders. That effort ultimately failed in the final hours of the 2014 legislative session.

Peake's resolve, however, did not.

Representative Peake and other members of the new Medical Cannabis Study Committee met for the first time at the state Capitol Wednesday. The committee heard testimony from Paige Figi, a Colorado mother whose daughter Charlotte has become a symbol of the medical marijuana fight.

Figi talked about how cannabis oil has helped Charlotte. She also expressed disappointment in the failure of Georgia lawmakers to pass Peake's bill.

"So, I'm just here to tell you that this is worthwhile," Figi said. "I think that we're asking for the government to step out of the way so that we can move forward with this, but I'm actually saying, I would go a step further and say, this is something that you should stand behind."

Figi advocated for a more inclusive law that would legalize medical marijuana for a wider range of patients.

Rep. Peake said after the meeting that he was not sure how far state legislators would be willing to go, but he supported extending the law to more people who are suffering.

"I think we need to make sure we look at citizens that have terminal illness," Peake explained. "I mean, I think that is something that all of Georgia would say, 'Hey, yeah.' Somebody who's in a situation where they're dying or wasting away, you know. I think there... I think it's time that we look at an opportunity to provide cannabis for those type situations."

Peake also said he supports the idea of licensing a select group of growers to produce medical marijuana in Georgia.

"If we're going to have something that's effective, that really works for our citizens, that we need to provide a cultivation model," said Peake. "We are in a great position to be able to learn what 34 other states have done and failed and messed up on. So, why don't we learn from that and create the very best model that's been done in the entire country."

The study committee will hold four more meetings around the state. The next one is at Mercer University in Macon on Sept. 10.

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