The Legal Reason Why a Conservative Lawmaker Delivers Marijuana in Georgia

Medical marijuana is legal in Georgia. Kind of.

Though the state passed a measure legalizing medical cannabis in 2015, it remains illegal to buy, sell, or grow the plant. That's why Georgia Rep. Allen Peake, a conservative Christian who sponsored the legalization bill, runs an underground "distribution network" to get the medicine to registered patients throughout the state.

Every month, a box of cannabis oil arrives at his office. He doesn't know where it comes from, and that's deliberate: if he knew that it was coming from another state, for example, he'd be violating federal drug trafficking laws. After the package arrives, a team of registered patients deliver the oils to different cities — sometimes meeting at gas stations or office buildings.

The patients aren't paying for the oils because that would violate the state's law. Peake told the Associated Press he makes donations for the oils out of pocket, at a cost of about $100,000 per year. The system stretches the law, but doesn't break it, and it reflects a problem several medical marijuana state are grappling with — where possession might be legal, but selling and purchasing it is not.


The legalization advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) released a report card in March 2017, grading each state based on its marijuana laws. Sixteen states received failing grades, including Georgia; none received an "A." In terms of access, Georgia earned only 15 points out of 100. Though that's an especially low score, numerous states where medical marijuana is legal failed in the access category, revealing a need for comprehensive and consistent legalization models, ASA concluded.

"It shouldn’t be this way," Shannon Cloud, a parent of a cannabis patient who assists Peake in delivering the oils, told the AP. "You shouldn’t be meeting at a gas station or a Target parking lot to get medicine to somebody. You should be going to the place where it is produced and tested to get it dispensed to you in a regulated manner, but this is what we’re forced to do."