Insurance commissioner paves way for inclusive transgender health care
4:33 p.m. State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler sent a letter to Washington health insurers today, spelling out the bottom line transgender activists have been hoping for. “Transgender people are entitled to the same access to health care as everyone else,” Kreidler said in the release, which includes gender-transition services that are available to others such as hormone therapy, counseling, mastectomies, breast augmentation and breast reconstruction. Kreidler added that future regulations could be implemented if insurers do not comply. The Coalition for Inclusive Healthcare told The Olympian this move is important because most private and public health insurance plans sold in Washington deny transgender people services they need, even care unrelated to gender identity such as routine blood work and therapy — E.W. .
Marijuana munchies on wheels
3:48 p.m. A hot-pink bus dubbed the Samich Truck will offer a variety of THC-fortified treats at Everett’sJet City farmers market this weekend, according to a Daily Herald report. Those with doctor’s permission to use pot can indulge in PB&J, truffle popcorn or a Vietnamese-style pork sandwich, all pot-infused. The Samich Truck doesn’t intend to comply with state rules for legal pot sales. The story says the truck will operates in a gray area of medical marijuana sales, outside the jurisdiction of local public health agencies and rules the state Liquor Control Board has been crafting since voters passed Initiative 502. Gray area: really? — E.W.
Murray calls for greater public safety
3:32 p.m. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray told the City Council that, in the wake of recent shootings involving young people, he wants to create "a lifetime of safety" for people of all ages. Murray said he will work across city departments to create a "summer of safety" this year but promised yearly updates on the progress toward improving public safety. Among many other things, the efforts will includes more youth programs, summer jobs for teens and improving connections between patrol officers and neighborhoods. Crosscut will have a full report shortly; the prepared text of his speech is here. — J.C.
New study: No reefer madness
Just as Washington gears up for legal retail sales of pot, a new study done by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London has revealed that genes linked to schizophrenia might lead a person to use marijuana – and not vice versa.
The study, which was picked up by seattlepi.com, found that schizophrenia and cannabis use is linked by shared genes, instead of the preconceived notion that using marijuana directly causes schizophrenia. Robert Power, who led the study, told Retuers, “We know that cannabis increases the risk of schizophrenia. Our study certainly does not rule this out, but it suggests that there is likely to be an association in the other direction as well – that a pre-disposition to schizophrenia also increases your likelihood of cannabis use.” — J.B.
Oil trains: Explosive question
We've got one more big question mark on oil trains moving from North Dakota's Bakken fields to Washington's refineries. On June 17, Kari Cutting, vice president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, told the Washington Senate's Energy and Environment Committee in Spokane that Bakken oil is no more volatile than oil shipped from other fields. But a Tuesday Associated Press story noted that Bakken oil has been involved in most of the major oil train accidents — involving big fires or explosions — during the past several years. That might raise questions on its volatility. However, it should be noted that shipments of Bakken oil have dramatically increased in recent years. — J.S.
Art for the Duwamish
ArtPlace America, which collaborates with numerous foundations nationally, today awarded $300,000 to a local art, culture and environmental justice project, Duwamish Revealed. The project will use public art and cultural events to reach out to communities along the river in south Seattle and educate people about issues. Working with the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle, artists Nicole Kistler and Sarah Kavage will serve as artistic directors. — J.C.
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