Georgia becomes first state in nation to permit medical marijuana use to treat sickle cell anemia

Published 3:16 pm Thursday, April 16, 2015

 ATLANTA, GA – April 16, 2015 – Today, Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 1, known as “Haleigh’s Hope Act”, into law. HB 1 permits the use of cannabis oil to treat certain medical illnesses including sickle cell anemia, making Georgia the first state in the nation to include this condition for treatment by medicinal cannabinoid products.

 Rep. Gloria Frazier (D- Hephzibah) was instrumental in working with the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), to include sickle cell as one of

eight qualifying conditions covered by this legislation. Sickle cell anemia affects approximately 7,800 Georgians each year, almost all of whom are people of color. Moreover, the disease affects 1 in every 500 African Americans, according to the CDC.

 “The battle to get to this point for many sickle cell patients has been a lengthy one, and I am pleased that this bill is finally a law. The sickle cell communities in Georgia now have an additional option to combat the pain brought on by the disease without the debilitating side effects. While medical marijuana is not a cure for any of these diseases, it offers a treatment option that will make the lives of patients easier,” said Rep. Frazier. “It has been a delight working with Rep. Peake to include sickle cell in this legislation, and I applaud the Governor for signing this common-sense legislation into law.”

 Patients with the following conditions are eligible for medical cannabis oil under this law: cancer, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s and sickle cell.

 Rep. Gloria Frazier serves House District 126, which covers Burke County and parts of Richmond County near Augusta, GA.