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Legislature approves 1st use of medicinal marijuana product

BY ADAM BEAM AND RAE HODGE Associated Press

FRANKFORT - The Kentucky General Assembly on Monday banned electronic cigarette sales to minors and approved the state's first use of a medicinal marijuana product, among other measures, on the legislature's last day before the upcoming veto session.

Notable bills that are likely dead include bills banning natural gas companies from seizing private land for a proposed oil pipeline and a bill restoring voting rights to some convicted felons.

Democratic leaders in the House and Republican leaders in the Senate spent most of the day in closed-door caucus meetings finishing work on the state's $20 billion biennial budget and working out compromises on legislation.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, lamented what he called divided government hindering the work of the lawmakers.

"There are only four states like Kentucky where we have divided government. We have deep philosophical differences with (Democratic House) Speaker (Greg) Stumbo and his caucus," Thayer said. "They have deep philosophical differences with us about the role of government and about debt and about spending. So it's difficult to work through those."

Once they finished working Monday, lawmakers were to adjourn for two weeks, giving Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear time to either sign or veto legislation. Lawmakers will return on April 14 for a two-day session to review those vetoes. No bill is dead until after April 15, when the constitution mandates lawmakers must adjourn for the year. But in general it is difficult for major bills to pass after the veto period.

Bills that passed the General Assembly on Monday and are headed to Beshear's desk include:

n SB.124, a bill legalizing the use of oil derived from marijuana for medical purposes. Supporters said the oil - known as cannabidiol - can treat seizures in children. The bill allows cannabidiol in two instances: a prescription from a doctor at the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville research hospitals or someone in a trial administered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The bill comes as states across the country are looking at relaxing their marijuana laws for medical purposes.

n SB.109, a bill banning the sale and use of electronic cigarettes to anyone under 18. Kentucky already bans the sale, possession and use of tobacco products to minors. This bill updates that to include electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes resemble traditional cigarettes except they use a battery to create vapor instead of smoke.

n HB.79, a bill which would allow a local board of education to provide services to refugees and legal aliens who are between the ages of 21 and 2.

n HB.232, a bill requiring consumers to be notified when an electronic data breach reveals personally identifiable information.

n HB.343, a bill that adds possessing or viewing child pornography to the list of the state's designated sex crimes.

n SB.49, a bill allowing teenagers under 14 to referee youth sports leagues. State law does not allow anyone under 14 to work.

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