ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Legislative day 40 is almost like the last day of school for lawmakers here in Atlanta and a graduation of sorts for one Middle Georgia State representative who put his heart into the house for more than a decade.
The end of the 2018 session also marks the end of one man’s fight for medical cannabis in Georgia.
“This issue is something that’s come across our state. We’ve moved a long way in four years over five sessions,” Peake told 41NBC in an exclusive interview.
After 12 years serving as a representative of district 141 in Macon-Bibb and Monroe County, Allen Peake is saying so long to being a state lawmaker.
“The great joy of this gig has been the relationships built with colleagues on both sides of the aisle both Republican and Democrats, but nothing tops getting to know the medical cannabis families who I’ve been able to fight along side with,” he said.
Peake gave an emotional farewell speech on Thursday in the House chambers reflecting on all the years spent as well as longtime friendships like the one he developed with District 149 Rep. Jimmy Pruett.
“Allen Peake and I came in at the same time. We were elected at the same time 12 years ago. Right off the bat, Allen was one of the most popular of the 23 that came in together and we became close friends. When he started doing the medical cannabis I was one of the first ones to get on his time,” Pruett told 41NBC.
He says from day one, Peake’s leadership and ambition stood out.
“I was so glad to see that he was so passionate, that he pushed this thing through, and that’s what it takes is passion and he obviously had that,” he continued.
Though his days are numbered, Peake says this is only the beginning for medical cannabis legislation.
“I fully expect that next year you’re gonna probably see the culmination of providing some cultivation here in Georgia. It’s coming,” he said.
Even at the forefront of the medical cannabis debate, he knows he couldn’t have gotten it this far on his own.
“I couldn’t be prouder for our chamber for really standing up on this issue, taking some strides and moving us to a point where we’re this close to providing access to folks here in Georgia,” Peake said.
Though his bill advocating for more disorders on the medical cannabis oil registry got stuck in the senate, amendments to HB65 kept those disorders in the discussion.
Lawmakers from Middle Georgia are hopeful about several bills including HB 65, which would add chronic pain and PTSD to the medical cannabis oil registry and HB 533 which would bring broadband internet to rural areas.
Lawmakers have until midnight tonight to sign or die.