By Mike Saucier (@MikeTheSauce)
The first medical marijuana dispensary—Arizona Organix, a Rose Law Group client—opened this week in the Valley, making for a historic day. It’s been a historic year for marijuana, with Washington State and Colorado voting to legalize it. It remains an uphill climb for pot to beat the stereotypes that it can’t seem to shake, especially in the media. Editors and reporters and the like just can’t help themselves. Exhibit A is the headline on E.J. Montini’s well-done piece on Thursday in the Republic: “New High for Medical Pot Backers.” Okay, guys, we get it. Pot jokes. Funny. I like them too. But enough already. Act like you’ve been there before.
The good news is although the drug is blatantly caricatured in the media, talking about it is no longer taboo. You can actually have a serious conversation about the merits of its legalization. Even when used for strictly medical purposes, there will be those skeptics who paint users as stoners looking to get over on the system. That issue will always exist, as do issues associated with alcohol use.
Linda Valdez (@valdezlinda) of the Republic took the news from Thursday one step further, calling for its outright legalization in this tweet promoting an online piece: “Forget medical marijuana. Just legalize recreational pot.”
Ryan Hurley (@rhurley999), director of the medical marijuana department at the Rose Law Group who has been at the forefront of the fight for dispensaries in Arizona, tweeted: “Lots of patients waiting to make first legal #MMJ purchase from a dispensary in #AZ Historic great day! http://via.me/-7l4dzeg “
But it didn’t take long for detractors to jump in.
Christian Palmer (@CPalmerGI) of the Goldwater Institute tweeted to various folks about what he saw in the media coverage of the dispensary opening.
“They don’t look like they came from a cancer ward. More like the ‘chronic pain’ crowd. Bonus points to guy with hiking cane.”
“Look at that smile! His knee must have really been killing him. How do you spell relief? #Bonghits”
“This guy has chronic knee pain http://bit.ly/Uq4UC2 (rode away on his skateboard. No joke)”
“Is that Spicoli’s roommate?”
“Quick! Get that guy with the tie-dye shirt some weed! We’re losing him!!! Hang in there, Mr. Tie-Dye Man!”
“Can’t work today. Grand opening of pot dispensary! I mean, I got this ‘chronic pain’ thing with my knee acting up again.”
It’s exactly these kinds of caricatures that that marijuana must overcome in the coming years.
There was good news on the real estate front in Arizona, as noted in tweets from Rose Law Group’s partner Court Rich (@Court_Rich):
“Hilton on the Valley housing market: ‘#Gilbert is gold’”
Gov. Jan Brewer went viral this week after she chided Ch. 3 reporter Dennis Welch over his question about climate change. Reports said Brewer “tapped” or “jabbed” Welch. Whatever is was, Welch will survive, I’m sure. The playful (?) tap/jab is not the issue. What’s disconcerting is the governor taking offense to the question in the first place. “Where in the hell did that come from,” she said, referring to his climate change query. It came from a reporter’s curiosity and a duty to ask relevant questions of public figures, actually. Climate change is in the news a lot of late, especially with Hurricane Sandy and Welch asked his question ahead of a speech she was to give on energy policy, so it wasn’t exactly out of the blue.
But the question more relevant to TwitterZona is, why hasn’t our governor tweeted since August 27? On that day, the @GovBrewer account tweeted: “@ the Politico Nightly Lounge at the RNC. Then going On The Record with Greta at 10:30 pm (ET). Ready for this convention to gear up.”
Maybe she would have helped herself on the Welch story with this possible tweet: “.@DennisWelch: My apologies. My tap’s intent was playful. Your question is an important one and I respect your right to ask it. #meaculpa”
Rep. Brenda Barton (@Barton4Az) of Payson went on a tweet spree about Syria this week, as concern grew that its dictator Bashar al-Assad would use chemical weapons against rebel forces within fighting Syrian troops and there was more talk of possible American involvement.
The District 5 representative tweeted: “I remember once before that ‘chemical weapons’ were a pretext to a war in Iraq and they never found the weapons in question.”
“Pray this goes nowhere and all sides stand down. Why has our government chosen to interfere? Are the rumors of Sarin gas confirmed?”
“What’s the lame-stream media told you today?”
Sheriff Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe): “Today I traveled to San Francisco to meet middle school students about immigration issues and the school principle cancelled the meeting.”
Adam Lopez Falk (@AdamLopezFalk), whose bio reads, “Fifth generation of an Arizona pioneer family-141 years strong. Same n’hood 80 yrs. Governing board member-AESD #68. Doing the best I can for the state I love” tweeted: “Everyone is freaking about @CoryBooker doing the food stamp challenge. Hey national media, @MayorStanton did that already. #phx”
I understand the impulse to point out the inequity of attention from the media when it comes to these things. Cory Booker is a national figure so receives national attention. But a quick search reveals that Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton was prominently featured in the Booker story and interviewed on MSNBC (http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/12/03/cory-booker-to-try-food-stamp-challenge/). Stanton’s food stamp challenge also garnered coverage from the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/greg-stanton-phoenix-mayor-food-stamps_n_1915608.html) and was mentioned in the article about Booker in Time magazine (http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/12/04/whats-behind-cory-bookers-food-stamp-challenge/). Not too shabby!
TWEETING THE HOLIDAYS
Persuasion and influence guru Matt Fox (@persuasionfox) of Scottsdale tweeted: “Why I love AZ. Finishing up the Christmas lights outside wearing shorts.
Ryan Winslett (@RyanWinslett), a journalist and freelance games writer of Fountain Hills: “The middle strand of tree lights stopped working. Of course. Christmas is OVER!”
Gayle Bass (@theclickchick), a co-host of the nationally syndicated TV show RightThisMinute and KTAR’s Click Chick, tweeted: “What am I jazzed about now? My Christmas decorations are on an auto-timer. #itsthesimplethings”
And Cyrus Igono (@cyrusigono), CEO of Gadsen Records, tweeted: “Eggnog is basically alcoholic pancake batter.”
THE TWEETWEEK IN SPORTS
For Arizona’s pro sports teams right now, things are looking pretty bleak, which these two tweets reflect.
Paola Boivin (@PaolaBoivin) of the Republic: “Most disgusted I’ve heard Cardinals fans in years – and don’t blame ’em”
Robert Baum (@Thebaumerphx), the “37-year veteran AP sports writer covering Cards, Suns, DBacks and more, proud grandfather, unrepentant big-mouth, teddy bear beneath the crusty skin” tweeted: “Suns are bad, Cardinals are horrible, When does spring training start?”
Though I write about Twitter every week, I’m still somewhat new to it. I might be late in learning that there is something called a “Twitter wave”–referenced in this tweet by the Suns (@Suns) last night: “Suns pull within four, 67-71. Retweet to start a Twitter wave! #SunsVsMavs
NBC sports announcer Bob Costas made news when he editorialized on-air about gun control in the wake of the the murder-suicide by a Kansas City Chiefs player. He basically said if the player didn’t possess a gun, his victim would be alive and went on to demonize the gun culture in the United States while invoking every known gun control cliché. Here in Arizona of course, guns are a particularly hot topic.
Tucson essayist, film critic, and philosopher Chris Dashiell (@cdashiell) took one side with this tweet: “Bob Costas must have said something sensible, because the wack-a-doodles are foaming.”
Tempe’s Chris Cottrell (@chriscottrell), a “follower of Jesus…and consultant at Yodle” had a different view, tweeting: “Still shaking my head about that comment from Bob Costas.”
SHOUTOUTS AND SHAMELESS PLUGS
Gil Shuga (@GilShuga) of Tempe touts Monti’s Steakhouse in Tempe, which is “Arizona’s pioneer steakhouse and birthplace of the late Senator Carl Hayden; authentic western hospitality, great food and history,” according ot its Twitter bio. Shuga tweeted: “Good eats as always @montistempe and Erica did a fine job taking care of us @100SMillAvenue @EddieZona”
Republic business and real estate scribe Peter Corbett (@PeterCorbett1) notes what to look forward to next year: “Guy Villavaso, whose concepts have included Roaring Fork & Z Tejas, plans to bring Hopdoddy Burger Bar to #Scottsdale next summer.”
Approximately 750 tweets are shared on Twitter per second. Some of them are just random observations and musings that make you say, “What?… Why?” but leave you bemused for some reason. These are some from the past week in Arizona.
From Justin Gurian (@justingurian), Creative Director and Partner at Firehouse restaurant in Scottsdale: “Do you ever just see someone and instantly dislike everything about them? Lady at the gym, I am talking about you.”
From Indianapolis 500 competitor Arie Luyendyk Jr. (@ariejr) of Scottsdale to his 108,000+ followers: “Thanks man with leaf blower directly outside my window. Woke up thinking a chopper landed on my bed, now my room smells like exhaust.”
From former TV reporter Keith Yaskin (@keithyaskin) of Phoenix: “On average, how long does it take for you to find a matching pair of socks?”
From Joshua Lavar Butler (@joshualavar), Navajo Nation Councilman and public relations exec: “I hope I didn’t forget how to use Twitter. :0/”
TWEET OF THE WEEK
This week’s is by Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald (@LarryFitzgerald), who was listed among the 10 “Athletes Who Care” in this week’s Sports Illustrated (hat tip: Mark Dalton @CardsMarkD): http://insidesportsillustrated.com/2012/12/05/athletes-who-care/ … This tweet, one among many detailing his holiday giveaways, symbolizes Fitzgerald’s consistent, generous spirit which is a huge part of his Twitter presence. A lot of athletes talk the talk when it comes to giving back—making token appearances at malls or in ads—but for Fitzgerald it is a daily engagement. It’s no accident he has more than 1.4 million followers.
Here’s the tweet: “I am at it again giving away an autographed photo in my 25 Days of Christmas w/ Fitz! Go down memory lane & enter now! http://bit.ly/UIPhIl ”
(TwitterZona is a column about Arizona tweets from movers and shakers in government, the sports world, newsrooms, public relations, the commentariat, business and enterprise, entertainment, the restaurant and nightlife scene, and arenas in between. Tweet selection is based on whether it is funny, clever, timely, insightful, provocative, sweet, moving, uplifting, or if it was an apt way of commenting on the issue of the moment.
It was conceived by and written by Phoenix resident Mike Saucier, @MikeTheSauce, a former newspaper reporter and editor in Massachusetts and New York City and a former spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the New York City Department of Correction. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)