Last Friday, WMAZ told you about State Representative Allen Peake's new cannabis oil distribution system. He told us he gets a shipment of the oil every month and gives it out for free to Georgia families who need it. Many of you responded to that post on our Facebook page.
Some people like Ryan King say they felt like Peake was a hero for doing it. King adds Peake isn’t making money by doing it. Others like David Gillis say it is against the law.
Kasandra Ortiz spoke to several sources to verify "Is Representative Allen Peake breaking the law?" First she spoke to Sheriff David Davis with the Macon-Bibb Sheriff's Office. Then She talked to District Attorney David Cooke over the phone about the state law on cannabis oil. She also spoke to Pete Peterman III with the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. He clears up what exactly the federal law says.
"We've kind of set up for all practical purposes a distribution network where we get the product here from Colorado. I don't ask a lot of questions about how it gets here, but it gets here. We then funnel it to citizens who have requested to us help in being able to get the product,” explains Peake.
He says he provides registered families in Georgia with cannabis oil for those with severe illnesses. Peake says based on what he knows it’s not against the law.
"We don't do the transportation of the product across the lines so we're not in violation of any federal law. We abide by what's in Georgia law by not having more product than we're allowed to possess. We're giving the product away. We're not selling it,” says Peake.
Sheriff David Davis says Peake's in the clear. He says the "grey area" is that the oil is delivered to Peake's place of business in Macon and not his home.
"There's a number of people in his office to say I don't know how this gets here. There's a number of people that it could be delivered to, but to have it delivered to a specific residence or a specific person, then it can be tracked back,” says David Davis.
District Attorney David Cooke says Peaks’ operation is legal under Georgia law as those getting the cannabis oil are following a few conditions.
"It has to be a low concentration that's set by the statute. That person has to be registered with the Department of Public Health and they have to have a registration card. Then there's some other regulations relating to the container being labeled,” says Cooke.
Under state law the person may not have cannabis oil with more than 5% THC and cannot possess more than 20 fluid ounces of it. Pete Peterman III with the U.S. Attorney's Office says Peake's system is technically against federal law.
"Cannabis oil in virtually any form is illegal under federal law. Various states have passed laws to allow its use medically and in some state's recreationally, but by Congress it is still a federal prohibition,” says Peterman.
But the Federal Drug Administration said four years ago that they would let each state's law takes precedence and they would not prosecute cases like Peake.
So we verified that technically what Peake is doing is legal under state law, but technically illegal under federal law. Peake says he will continue to fight to allow cannabis oil to be cultivated and accessible in Georgia for medical purposes.
District Attorney Cooke says this difference between the state and federal law has been controversial for some time now. Cooke also says he would not prosecute anyone trying to give a loved one medicine they may need or that may help them.