Caffeinated News

1. Pro-pot City Attorney Pete Holmes issued a memo yesterday urging the legislature to merge the medical marijuana industry—which has sprawled into a suspect haven for unregulated pot sales—into the regulated I-502 commercial marijuana market. 

As Casey reported in December, state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-43, Ballard) has cued up legislation to do just that

Medical marijuana patients are concerned that commercial pot stores can't meet their needs, though. For example, Kari Boiter of Americans for Safe Access told us she's concerned that medical patients who need THC-grade pot as opposed to medical, CBD-grade pot will get taxed for that medication. “We certainly don’t want the budget to be balanced on the backs of sick patients,” she told us.

Mayor Ed Murray, who shares concerns about merging the commercial and medical pot markets "at the expense of patients" says he is preparing legislation to keep some medical pot outlets open and wants to locally license med pot sales

Holmes said that could conflict with state law. 

I have a message in to Sen. Kohl-Wells, who praised Holmes on Facebook yesterday, to see what she thinks about Murray's position. Politically active and voluble restaurant and music entrepreneur David Meinert, who's licensed to enter the 502 market, took to Facebook himself to criticize Murray's position. 

Seizing on Murray's concern that 502 stores can't give medical advice, Meinert wrote: "The Mayor seems to be suggesting we need hundreds of unregulated 'medical' dispensaries in Seattle solely because patients need to have medical advice from the dispensary workers. REALLY? Has he been to a dispensary? Does he believe folks are qualified to give out medical advice better than the doctor who gave the patient a medical MJ card? The patient already got medical advice from a doctor, now they need it from a retail clerk?" 

2. Speaking of voluble, developer lobbyist Roger Valdez fired off a letter to city council yesterday urging them to stand up to Ballard neighbors who are wary of having an Urban Rest Stop in Ballard; urban rest stops are facilities that provide homeless people with basics such as bathrooms, showers, and laundry machines.

 They are worried about their own financial interests and about new people who are different from them.

The council added $200,000 to this year's budget to fund urban rest stops and Valdez's letter is a clear challenge to see if they'll stand up for themselves in the face of neighborhood pressure.  ... This time.

Trying to catch the council in a fix, Valdez's letter draws a parallel between neighborhood objections to microhousing—which cowed the council into overregulating microhousing—and urban rest stops, which they amended the budget to support.  

He writes: "Entitled, frightened, and angry neighbors have opposed microhousing and other projects welcoming new people into our neighborhoods for the same reason they are opposing the Urban Rest Stop: because they are worried about their own financial interests and about new people who are different from them."

Reality check on that comparison: Developers say the average microhousing unit goes for about $850 (with new regs likely bumping the average to $1250). 

3.  Falling well below the nationwide average—2.3 bike deaths per 1 million people—Washington State's average, according to federal stats, is 1.4, ranking us 27. Florida, at 5.7, ranks no. 1 (or worst). 

West Virginia, Vermont, and Maine tied for best at 0.5.