DAYBREAK DAILY: Maryland seeks new path for medical marijuana distribution

ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly cloudy with isolated drizzle and highs near 40.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – The latest from Ukraine; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

POT PERMISSION SLIP: Or something like that, per the Baltimore Sun, “Responding to growing public support for medical use of marijuana, the House of Delegates approved legislation Monday that would allow specially licensed physicians in Maryland to recommend the drug to patients with debilitating medical conditions. The bill now goes to the Senate, where supporters are optimistic about its prospects.

“The legislation would replace a system put in place last year that is widely regarded as a failure. That system restricted medical marijuana use to patients seeking care at academic medical centers, but none of the centers agreed to participate. "This is a matter of life and death for our people," said Del. Cheryl Glenn, a Baltimore Democrat whose medical marijuana bill was merged with one sponsored by Del. Dan K. Morhaim, a physician and Baltimore County Democrat. Under the legislation, approved 127-9, a state commission would license some physicians to write a marijuana recommendation for their patients. Morhaim said the directive would be similar to a prescription, but federal law prohibits calling it that.”

COLLEGE COSTS: Virginia’s Warner has a plan, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Warning that the steady rise in student loan debt will cause the country's next great economic crisis, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner outlined measures Monday that he said can help students and their families better manage college expenses.

“Warner said he's working on legislation in three areas: greater flexibility for borrowers in paying off student loans; stronger rules that require specific, early information about college costs and future earnings for prospective students and their parents; and federal assistance for needy high school students who want to take community college courses.”

CHARLES SEVERANCE: Remember Richard Jewell? Anyway, per the Washington Post, “Charles Severance was always the kind of peculiar that made people uncomfortable, even afraid. An oddly dressed, lesser-known politico in Alexandria, Severance ranted about the city’s mental health system in public forums and once even threw a punch at the organizer of a mayoral debate. On Monday — as Severance appeared in a West Virginia courtroom on a fugitive from justice warrant — prosecutors said that the bearded 53-year-old history buff, who often wears a tri-corner hat, might be more than just eccentric.

“Ohio County prosecutor Scott Smith said that Alexandria authorities are investigating Severance in connection with three slayings of high-profile residents in the city in the past decade and that once Severance learned of that, he tried to seek asylum at the Russian Embassy in the District. . . Severance is not charged in any killing. It is unclear what — if any — evidence investigators have to connect him to the February slaying of music teacher Ruthanne Lodato, the November shooting of regional transportation planner Ronald Kirby or the 2003 killing of real estate agent Nancy Dunning.”

‘LIKE-MINDED’ PAC: Seems like old times, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the master Democratic fundraiser, has launched a leadership PAC, Common Good VA, to support “like-minded” candidates and issues important to him. He announced the creation of the political action committee in an email Monday, thanking supporters and noting accomplishments of the past legislative session, including reform of the Standards of Learning and repeal of the hybrid vehicle fee.

“. . . The announcement of the PAC’s creation came about two weeks after adjournment of the regularly scheduled General Assembly session, during which lawmakers and the governor are barred from raising money. Republican leadership in the House of Delegates responded to Monday’s announcement with the reminder that they wanted to extend the regular legislative session by 30 days to complete work on the state budget, which was left unresolved when lawmakers left March 8. They return March 24 for a special session.”

UKRAINE: And Crimea, per the New York Times, “President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia signed a decree on Monday formally recognizing Crimea as a “sovereign and independent state,” laying the groundwork for annexation and defying the United States and Europe just hours after they imposed their first financial sanctions against Moscow since the crisis in Ukraine began.

“Mr. Putin issued his late-night decree after the region declared independence earlier in the day and asked Russia to annex it in keeping with the results of a referendum conducted Sunday under the watch of Russian troops. The Kremlin announced that Mr. Putin would address both houses of the Russian Parliament on Tuesday, when many expect him to endorse annexation.”

THE AMAZON POST: Or something like that, per the Seattle Times, “In a little more than a decade, Google has upended the advertising world, giving Madison Avenue detailed insight about who is clicking on ads and how often. You think Google knows what you want? Try Amazon.

“The data the retail giant collects on its 237?million active customer accounts — and its careful mining to target markets — puts Google to shame. doesn’t just know what folks have searched for; it knows what they bought. And using that data, as well as ginning up other ways to get marketers to spend their money, has turned Amazon into one of the Web’s ad juggernauts, the seventh-largest seller of digital ads worldwide, according to eMarketer, which tracks online advertising. It’s already generating more ad revenue than Twitter, Pandora and LinkedIn, and Amazon is on pace to sell nearly $1?billion worth of ads this year.”

THE SURGEON GENERAL: Potential change of plans, per The Hill, “The White House said Monday that administration officials were “recalibrating” amid growing opposition to President Obama’s nomination for surgeon general from Senate Democrats and criticism from the National Rifle Association. “We are recalibrating and assessing our strategy moving forward with the nomination,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.

“As many as 10 Senate Democrats have signaled that they would oppose the nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy, who was targeted by the influential gun lobby after voicing support for bans of certain types of firearms and ammunition purchases. Murthy has also called for mandatory gun safety programs and the removal of restrictions on antigun advocacy research. The White House spokesman did not explain what form that shift in strategy would take, but insisted that the administration had not abandoned Murthy’s nomination.”

POLITICO PLAY: “Just a few months ago, it looked like 2014 would be the year of the populist, with Democrats running on economic inequality, tea party Republicans bashing banks and newly minted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pledging to soak the rich with higher taxes. That was so January. The terrain is now shifting fast as the 1 percent fights back hard and the effectiveness of the populist approach comes into question.

“Fresh off a bruising loss in Florida, the Democratic playbook for the midterms appears in need of a major rewrite — and the pro-business wing of the party is ready to draw up new plans. President Barack Obama in his budget once again floated a plan to raise taxes on Wall Street, but no one took it seriously. And just days later, the president was raising money at the home of one of the wealthiest private equity executives in New York. Mayor de Blasio’s hopes to increase taxes on the wealthiest got blown out by Wall Street’s newest hero, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. And de Blasio is facing major heat from the rich over his opposition to charter schools.”

ALT-DEBATE: Gray misses out, per City Paper, “Lots of voters and nearly the entire mayoral field came out for Sunday night's Washington City Paper debate at the Black Cat. But there's good news for Vince Gray and anyone else who couldn't make the forum—you can listen to it here. If you want even more LL debate action, come back to the Black Cat Tuesday night for the at-large debate moderated by LL, DCist's Sarah Hughes, and the Washington Post's Clinton Yates. Doors open at 8.”

IN THE HOUSE: Rather, in the cards, per Gazette.Net, “As the Netflix political thriller “House of Cards” threatens to pack up its sets to another state, the Maryland Senate preliminarily approved legislation that would more than double the amount of tax credits allowed to investors in film and television production in fiscal 2015. The Senate is expected to consider final passage of the bill, which raises the credit pot to $18.5 million from $7.5 million, this week. Then it would go to a House committee, which is still considering legislation that would only increase the credits to $11 million.”

GRIM DEAL: Just the facts, per the Frederick News-Post, “Frederick police have charged the mother of a 21-month-old girl who died late Friday after spending time alone with her father. Stephanie Ramirez Williams, 21, of the 300 block of Prospect Boulevard, was charged Monday with first-degree child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, police said in a news release.

“Frankie Aubrey Williams, 24, the child’s father, was charged Saturday with first-degree child abuse resulting in death, first-degree child abuse resulting in severe physical injury and first-degree assault, after he waited more than five hours to report the little girl’s injuries. The charges against Stephanie Williams stem from her “inaction and apparent unwillingness to protect and provide treatment for her daughter after learning she had been abused at the hands of her husband,” Frederick Police Department spokesman Lt. Clark Pennington said.”

COOL HOUSE FOR SALE: Not just any house, per ARLnow, “The “epic treehouse” featured on in January is now for sale. The treehouse — described by its 36-year-old owner as a “mancave in a tree” — is for sale along with two surrounding structures: a renovated 3 bedroom/2.5 bath house originally built in 1904, and a detached 1 bedroom/1 bath “guest/in law cottage.” Owner Andrew Knight said he has invested much of his money into repurposing a church and rectory in Lewiston, Maine into an events venue and, “after crunching the numbers,” he realized he had to sell his house.”

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Virginia Tech fires men’s basketball James Johnson after two seasons.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Snow plows and trucks spun out of control in Virginia on Monday. From driving in the wrong direction to teetering on medians to collisions resulting in downed power lines, these vehicles wreaked havoc on the roads. Check out a video of one Arlington County snow plow driving the wrong way down the street.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

--Skip Wood{ }