Pat Beggan

Colorado Gov. Vetoes Bill Making Autism a Qualifying Condition for MMJ

Gov. John Hickenlooper, in a record-setting ninth veto of the year, rejected a bill that would have added Autism Spectrum Disorder to the list of conditions qualifying for medical marijuana on Tuesday, the Denver Post reports.

Hickenlooper said, regarding the veto, he could not ignore overwhelming concerns from the medical community.

“If we sign that bill we end up, without question, in some way encouraging more young people to look at this as an antidote for their problems.” — John Hickenlooper via The Denver Post

State lawmakers cannot override Hickenlooper’s veto because the legislative session has ended. The governor’s office said Hickenlooper met with families of children with autism while deciding whether or not to veto House Bill 1263. Several mothers and their children camped outside the governor’s office as they awaited news of the decision.

Sen. Steve Fenberg of Boulder was one of the bill’s primary sponsors. He rejected the idea that allowing medical marijuana use for autism would have led to more children without the disorder consuming cannabis.

“I think its unfortunate. I think there are a lot of families that it would benefit. The reality is the traditional pharmaceuticals aren’t always the right choice for these kids, either. This is not for people who have just a little bit of Asperger (syndrome) or something. This is for people who have kids who at the end of the day are hurting themselves. It’s not a justification to be able to smoke pot. It’s genuinely about medicine to help people. And there’s science behind it.” — Sen. Steve Fenberg via the Denver Post

Gov. Hickenlooper, as part of the veto, ordered state health officials to study whether medical marijuana could be an effective and safe treatment for autism.

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