DENVER (AP) - Colorado's House has passed a bill allowing medical marijuana use to treat autism spectrum disorders.
The bill had strong bipartisan support, passing 63-0 on Thursday.
The Senate is expected to do the same, and Gov. Jared Polis has pledged to sign it.
Autism spectrum disorders include autism, Asperger syndrome and other developmental disorders whose symptoms range from mild to severe.
Current law allows medical marijuana use for cancer, glaucoma, HIV, PTSD, seizures and severe pain.
The legislation streamlines procedures for minors to be added to Colorado's medical marijuana registry. It also encourages state research into ovarian cancer, dementia and other medical conditions.
Then-Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed a similar bill last year. He cited a need for more research into marijuana's benefits for patients with an autism spectrum disorder.
One family moved out to Colorado from Arizona to see if medical marijuana would help their autistic son. 11-year-old Kolt Kropp is diagnosed with a severe form of autism. When his family moved to Pueblo, Kolt was able to get a medical marijuana card because of a rare skin condition. His mother Jamie Kropp says it has helped his outbursts and communication, "He goes to school, he has cousins that before couldn't come over and play with him, now he is able to have friends."
When she heard the news of the house passing the bill she was overjoyed, "I got goosebumps, I actually started crying with complete joy." Jamie says she and her son met with Governor Jared Polis while he was running for governor. Kropp says he told her that if he was elected and the bill ever reached his desk, he would sign it. Kropp says this would benefit not only other children like Kolt, but also the families. "Autism is stressful, autism is hard," says Kropp holding back tears, "It's always going to be there, but this is going to give thousands of families an opportunity to try something different."
The bill will now go before the state senate.