Ga. Lawmaker Plans To Propose Medical Cannabis Referendum

State Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, speaks before Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, rear, signs an executive order requiring state agencies to start preparations now for the enactment of the state's medical marijuana bill Friday, March 27, 2015, in Atlanta. The bill becomes law when he signs it soon after the current legislative session ends April 2. The bill, sponsored by Peake, will allow the use of cannabis oil for treatment of certain medial conditions. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press
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Rep. Allen Peake wants to let voters to take a swing at how medical cannabis should work in the state.

Republican State Representative Allen Peake says he’s planning to try to put the question of in-state cannabis cultivation before Georgia voters in the form of a referendum.

Peake is unquestionably the state legislature’s biggest proponent of medical marijuana, but so far he has had a hard time convincing lawmakers to come up with ways for Georgians who are qualified for medical cannabis oil treatments to actually get their hands on the stuff in state.

“We still face some stiff opposition from law enforcement as well as some faith-based organizations,” said Peake. “And that’s really what’s blocking us from moving forward at this time.” 

With more states recently passing marijuana initiatives, including Florida next door, he’s working on a new strategy.

“Maybe the best solution is let’s let the Georgia citizens decide by referendum in 2018, and we’ll let the next governor decide how it’s implemented,” said Peake.

Governor Nathan Deal has opposed in-state production, but his final term ends next year.

Peake said meanwhile, he’ll also try to expand the current list of eight conditions that can be treated by medical cannabis legally here. He said he expects passing any marijuana-related measures will remain an uphill battle.

He plans to introduce a bill within the first two weeks of the general assembly. It convenes next week.

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