Flanked by a kid wearing a “420 Autism” tee, on Tuesday Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed into effect House Bill 1028, which legalizes medical marijuana treatment for autism. “OK kids, that’s how we make a law,” he told the families and advocates who had gathered for the occasion.
But in fact, the story of this bill was much more complex than Polis’ pen flourish. A similar bill passed both the House and Senate last year, but was rejected by then-Governor John Hickenlooper, who was not convinced that scientific data existed that backed up the legislation’s application to young people living with autism. “I haven’t found a pediatrician yet who thinks it’s a good idea to sign this bill,” Hickenlooper commented at the time, adding that certain autism groups’ silence on the bill “speaks volumes.”
A study ordered by Hickenlooper on the effects of cannabis on childhood autism has not yet reached a conclusion, though it has put together a working group of parents and health care professionals to advise its process.
Polis has been an opponent of Hickenlooper’s distrust for marijuana’s effect on autistic kids for some time, even running for the office on the platform that he would have