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Special session on marijuana unlikely as rally against Hickenlooper takes place at Capitol

DENVER -- The marijuana community is not happy.

Within a span of a few short days Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed three pieces of legislation crucial to their Colorado policy agenda in 2018.

Hickenlooper's vetoes included bills allowing parents of children with autism to get access to marijuana, publicly traded companies and their ability to invest in marijuana businesses, and the creation of cannabis tasting rooms at dispensaries.

"I was heartbroken, I was devastated," Michelle Walker said.

Walker was one of several mothers who sat outside Hickenlooper's office this week encouraging him to sign the autism bill -- she was most frustrated by the fact he vetoed the bill the moment they left the office.

"The minute we left he vetoed this bill -- before I got to my car across the street I got word that he vetoed it," Walker added.

Thursday a protest and press conference took place on the west steps of the Capitol -- where Democrats and Republicans who voted for the bill gathered to discuss the possibility of a special session to override the governor's vetoes.

"This is a governor who since day one has treated cannabis consumers like second class citizens," Mason Tvert, a marijuana community spokesman said.

But sources say a special session is extreme unlikely. For one, the governor is unlikely to call a special session himself on a bill he just vetoed.

Lawmakers can call for a special session with a 2/3 vote but a statement by House Speaker Crisanta Duran seems to suggest she would not be on board.

"Over the course of the session, many families passionately advocated for HB1263 which would have provided an additional treatment option for children with autism. I am disappointed the governor vetoed this legislation. The bill went through a careful legislative and stakeholder process, and ultimately passed both chambers with overwhelming support. I encourage Reps. Edie Hooton and Jovan Melton - who have been leaders on this issue - and my colleagues to take up this bill promptly next legislative session, to provide families with the tools they need to care for their children with autism."

Some lawmakers have speculated Hickenlooper vetoed the bill for political reasons.

"I do," State Rep. Edie Hooton, D-Boulder, said.

"There is no logical reason to veto this bill," Hooton added.

As for the governor -- earlier this week he rejected the notion his decision would be based off of politics during a press conference. His office released this statement from the governor late Thursday.

"For me, it’s about helping families and their kids who have autism. It’s a complex disorder that requires families and doctors working together on the best treatment for each child. Our executive order to expedite research on the use of medical marijuana as a treatment for children with autism lays the groundwork for what we hope will be another evidence based treatment for families in the near future.  In the meantime, we have the commitment from those working closest with these kids to continue to provide the relief and support they deserve."

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