An online survey distributed by state Rep. Allen Peake suggests there is widespread support for medical marijuana in Bibb County and in the state.
Peake, R-Macon, received more than 2,000 responses so far, with 89 percent of responders claiming to be from Georgia and 21 percent specifically from Macon and Bibb County.
Of those completing the survey, 95 percent support legalizing marijuana for limited medicinal use and 73 percent support full decriminalization for recreational use, Peake said.
Ive done several surveys over the years, and this is by leaps and bounds the most responses Ive ever gotten, he said by phone Friday.
Peake stepped into the medical marijuana issue after learning about Haleigh Cox, a 4-year-old girl from Forsyth, who suffers from as many as 100 seizures per day. Her mother believes oil derived from the cannabis, or marijuana, plant will help alleviate her condition. Peake said he thinks Haleigh should have access to it.
He emphasized his support extends to granting very limited and tightly regulated access to cannabis formulas for people like Haleigh who suffer from seizures.
The Cox family is one of several that came forward with their story. An Atlanta police sergeant told WSB Atlanta Thursday that he is relocating his family to establish residency in Colorado so his son can seek relief from his seizures with cannabis oil there.
Meanwhile, support for medical marijuana in the state Legislature is growing. Tuesday, state Sen. Josh McKoon, R-Columbus, filed a resolution to establish a committee to study the issue.
Peake said many of his colleagues in the Legislature have evolved in their attitude toward medical marijuana after being confronted with facts and the faces of people who could be helped.
Im optimistic we can pull off a small miracle, Peake said, referring to the chances a medical marijuana bill will be passed this year.
Peake is working to introduce a bill into the state Legislature as soon as next week, he said, but he is working to build a coalition of support first. As far as full decriminalization for recreational use is concerned, Peake is still firmly opposed.
I dont see my evolution moving in that direction at all, he said. I do not approve of marijuana for recreational purposes, because there is clearly an impairment of the mind with normal use of marijuana, and I dont think thats a positive step socially and culturally for our society.
For those interested in sharing their thoughts on marijuana with Peake, a link to his survey is available at www.allenpeake.com.