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Yes We Can (Continue The War On Drugs): Advocates of D.C.’s new medical marijuana law were relieved to find the zealous new House Republican majority didn’t try to block it while writing the next fiscal year’s budget this spring. Turns out they were worried about the wrong end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Department of Justice notified the Drug Enforcement Administration this week that anyone “cultivating, selling, or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act,” and that local laws legalizing or decriminalizing weed don’t matter. Maybe that’s why the District hasn’t granted any licenses to sell medical pot yet: Is Mayor Vince Gray worried President Barack Obama will send the narcs after him if he “knowingly facilitates” the distribution centers’ activities? -2
Bike to the Fireworks: Taking Capital Bikeshare out to big events can sometimes be a problem; once the available racks in the area fill up, there’s nowhere to leave the burly red bike, unless you’ve hauled your own lock and key along with you (in which case, why not just bring your own bike?). DDOT seems to have realized that—they’ll set up “bike corrals” by the Mall on Monday evening so people can leave their Bikeshare rides while watching pyrotechnics, guaranteeing a place to park for anyone who brings a municipal bike by. (Getting all the bikes back around town that night won’t be easy, though; officials say there may not be a place to park when you get home again, or a bike for your Tuesday morning commute.) +2
No Such Thing As A Free Ride: The next time you lose your D.C. driver’s license, it’ll cost a bit more to replace it. New DMV fees for four services took effect today, part of the city’s effort to bring in more revenue in the fact of a budget crunch. Duplicate licenses will be $20, up from $7; road and knowledge tests, which used to be free, will cost $10; and commercial driver’s licenses, which used to be $13, will cost $20. Cue AAA to decry the District’s war on cars, no doubt. -1
Monumental Problem: Riding up to the top of the Washington Monument tends to be one of those things tourists do that locals never quite get around to, figuring they can go any time, so why wait in the line? Besides the line, there’s now a new reason to stay away: You might get stuck. D.C. firefighters had to rescue 16 people trapped 490 feet above the ground Thursday night when an elevator stalled; they had to walk down from the top, adding insult to injury. Great way to start the nation’s birthday celebration off, isn’t it? -1
Yesterday’s Needle rating: 43 Today’s score: -2 Friday bonus: +2 Fourth of July bonus: +2 Today’s Needle rating: 45