Politics

House Amends Marijuana Bill To Include Sickle Cell Anemia

State Rep. Allen Peake presents House Bill 1, before a House committee, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Atlanta.
State Rep. Allen Peake presents House Bill 1, before a House committee, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Atlanta.
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Prior to state employees heading home early due to the weather, the Georgia House Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow for the limited use of medical marijuana.  

The House voted 157-2 in favor of the bill, but not before amending it so the list of treatable illnesses was expanded to include sickle cell anemia, which mostly affects African-Americans. The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus lobbied hard for the change.

Bill sponsor Allen Peake, R-Macon, told colleagues it was needed.

“With the African-American population the size it is in Georgia there are a significant amount of citizens who have sickle cell disease who could potentially benefit from medical cannabis from the pain that is associated with that,” Peake said.

The bill now allows for nine illnesses including cancer, seizure disorders and Parkinson’s to be treated with a non-mind altering, oil-based form of marijuana. Peake had wanted more covered under the bill, but Gov. Nathan Deal wanted less due to concerns about abuse.    

Bill supporters are now concerned the Senate may narrow the bill to only cover seizure disorders.