Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has vetoed a bill that would have allowed those with autism to use medical marijuana. The bill, HB 18-1263, titled “Medical Marijuana Use for Autism and Acute Pain,” would have added autism spectrum disorders to the list of qualifications for use of medical marijuana in the state of Colorado. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the state House and Senate, but as it did not have the support of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Governor Hickenlooper vetoed the bill on June 5, 2018.
In a statement, Governor Hickenlooper said, “While we are very sympathetic with families advocating medical marijuana (MMJ) as a safer and more effective treatment for their children, we cannot ignore such overwhelming concerns from the medical community. In vetoing this bill, we do so on sole concern that medical efficacy on MMJ to treat ASD has yet to be fully studied by medical professionals and scientific experts entrusted to this role at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.”
This veto is a blow to many patients with autism who were hoping to obtain medical marijuana cards in Colorado to treat the symptoms associated with autism. Governor Hickenlooper also said that he autism and Asperger’s syndrome run in his family.
“If we sign that bill, we end up without question in some way encouraging more young people to look at this for an antidote for their problems,” he told reporters. “Whichever side you take, you have compelling arguments.”
However, Governor Hickenlooper will be issuing an executive order direction the CDPHE, working together with the Colorado Board of Health, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of medical marijuana for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders in children.
Sadly this is in all lieklyhood a result of Hickenlooper’s greater political ambitions as hesets his eyes on a national campaign. He must appear to be a bit “tougher on drugs” to pick up enough conservative voters to be a contender… political ambition is fine, but it is unacceptable when it hurts those who need society’s help more than anyone else. Shame Governor, Shame.