Free Lunch Isn’t Free: Deals like the ones LivingSocial was offering today don’t come along every day—and thank God, because if they did, it would mean no one would ever be able to get into a restaurant for lunch ever. The debut of the coupon site’s instant $1 lunches led to long lines and near anarchy at the several dozen participating places. By 11:30 a.m., only 30 minutes after most of the restaurants involved even opened for lunch service, 24,000 vouchers had been sold. How many of them were used, though, is another story; we waited 5 minutes to try to get in on a deal in Adams Morgan, then gave up when we realized that saving $14 was nice, but waiting four hours to do it didn’t make it worthwhile. -2

Smoke It If You Got It: Marijuana is against the law, so of course it’s completely impossible to find any here in the District. Or at least that’s what the people behind the nation’s drug laws must tell themselves every night. But don’t dispair, D.C. residents: The day when some of you may get to see what this whole “pot” thing is all about—legally— is one step closer to reality; Mayor Vince Gray officially issued regulations for the District’s medical marijuana rules today. Within 90 days, or sooner if the D.C. Council votes on the rules, the city can assemble a five-member board to start issuing licenses for dispensaries and growers. +3

School’s Out: On a day like today, it’s easy to imagine sneaking out of work early. Apparently, for 13 percent of D.C. Public Schools students, it’s also easy to imagine sneaking out of class early many days. A new study reports 13 percent of DCPS students missed 15 or more days of school during the first half of the 2010-11 school year without what authorities considered a valid excuse. The excuses they considered invalid, though, included lack of Metro fare to get to school, unsafe conditions between school and home, and “teen dating violence.” Those actually do sound pretty valid; probably easier to shake your head at truancy, though, than to fix the underlying problems that contribute to it. -2

Budget Fundraising: President Obama signed the budget deal he and Congress worked out last week into law today—and along with it, the provision barring the District from spending any of its own local tax dollars on abortions for low-income women. The D.C. Abortion Fund, though, has been busy raising money to fill the $62,000 gap the budget rider would leave. A board member told Washington City Paper the fund raised $2,600 over the weekend, immediately after the budget deal; since then, an emergency appeal helped bring in thousands more. Fund president Tiffany Reed says the group took in nearly $12,000 just on Wednesday night and Thursday. By this afternoon, apparently, that was up to over $25,000. Just goes to show Congress isn’t as powerful as it thinks it is. More District activists got arrested today protesting the deal, too—which shows the Capitol Police are as powerful as they think they are. +2

Yesterday’s Needle rating: 61 Today’s score: +1 Friday bonus: +2 Today’s Needle rating: 64