Hickenlooper vetos bill that would have added autism to conditions eligible for medical pot

Posted at 8:38 PM, Jun 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 00:24:56-04

DENVER – Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper rejected a medical marijuana expansion bill Tuesday. 

House Bill 1263 would have added autism spectrum disorders to the list of medical conditions that authorize a person to use medical marijuana for his or her condition.

The bill had support from several parents, some of whom rallied at the capitol Tuesday.

Michelle Walker, a parent of an autistic child, said she had seen positive results from treatment for her son.

“He’s now seizure free, and that’s very exciting, but it has also been life changing for his autism as well,” Walker said.

But several medical groups, including the Colorado Psychiatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics, opposed the bill, citing a lack of research into medical marijuana’s effectiveness in treating autism.

In a statement sent to Denver7, the groups said they support research to determine the benefits of cannabis products to treat the disorder, but “we do not currently have any studies that meet the medical standards for establishing safety and efficacy for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder.”

In a letter, Hickenlooper said he was empathetic to the plights of families affected by the veto, but he could not “ignore such overwhelming concerns from the medical community.”

According to Denver7 news partner, the Denver Post, 93,314 people were authorized to use medical marijuana in Colorado as of the end of February, 314 of whom were under age 18.