Parents of children with autism rally lawmakers for medical marijuana access

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DENVER -- Jaimee Gomez is like so many parents who have a child with autism.

"He is very young at 3 and a half, and unfortunately, his autism is not getting any better. We have already tried multiple medications and we need another option," said Gomez.

That is why Gomez and her son went to the Colorado State Capitol Wednesday: to advocate for a bill that would allow children with autism access to medical marijuana.

"It is my son's future on the line here," said Gomez.

The concept may be emotional, but it is also controversial.

Last year, former Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a similar piece of legislation.

"I haven't met a pediatrician yet who thinks it's a good idea to sign this bill," Hickenlooper said at the time.

Wednesday, doctors testified against making the bill law before the Health and Insurance Committee.

"You're kind of playing Russian Roulette," said Dr. Dave Downs, an internal primary care provider.

"The best study that I could find says it also precipitated one episode of psychosis in a child with autism," said. Dr. Downs.

But this year, lawmakers -- on both sides of aisle -- remain committed to getting the measure passed.

"Gov. Polis has been a strong proponent of medical marijuana," said Rep. Edie Hooton (D-Boulder), a bill sponsor.

Indeed, when Governor Polis was asked by FOX31 political reporter Joe St. George during the campaign if he would sign this bill, he said he would.

"I would have. I think we should always side with patient access," Polis said at the time.

The bill passed the Health and Insurance Committee 10-1 with bipartisan support Wednesday.

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