Georgia state representative Allen Peake is a conservative Republican lawmaker who has successfully championed the creation, and expansion, of Georgia’s medical marijuana program. He’s also risking getting a felony charge of drug trafficking every month because he supplies cannabis oil to hundreds of sick people who by state law can possess marijuana, but have no legal way of obtaining it.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to be able to help get the product to these families, these citizens who have debilitating illnesses,” Peake said.
Georgia’s medical marijuana program now provides low-THC cannabis oil to more than a thousand patients. In an interesting twist, enrollees in the program can have the oil, but they can’t cultivate, import or purchase it.
Besides being a state representative, Peake has a home business that he states is run according to Biblical principles and donates to Christian charities – this is the practice that led him into the world of cannabis. He had started out by helping families with the costs of moving to Colorado for the legal access to treatments they couldn’t get in Georgia.
Now that the laws are a bit different, and those who need it can legally possess it, Peake has made it his goal to make certain they can actually get their hands on it.
This is where he’s putting himself in the position of being extremely careful about how he actually receives, and distributes, the cannabis oil. Once a month, a cardboard box from Colorado appears at his office – inside are the derivatives of marijuana that he’ll distribute to the seriously ill. In 2009, President Obama instructed the Department of Justice not to prosecute people for possessing or distributing medical marijuana, but transporting it across state lines is still a felony. This is why Peake depends on the mysterious box that appears in his office, “Quite frankly, I don’t know how the product gets here,” he says.
However, each time one of the boxes arrives, he makes a significant donation to a foundation in Colorado that supports research of medical cannabis. Making a direct payment would be illegal, but his donations tally up to about $100,000 a year, which means he’s been able to supply the oil to hundreds of patients across Georgia.
“I’ll never recover that money,” he said, adding that it doesn’t matter: the satisfaction of helping people makes it all worthwhile.