If you're from Tucson or have been here a while, and you have spent any significant time in Phoenix, you know that Tucson sucks way less than our bigger neighbor to the north. The reasons are numerous, and I won't go into them here.
But it seems medical marijuana has offered the Valley a chance to suck a little less—to level the smoking field, so to speak. The Phoenix area has a budding MMJ cohesion and exuberance to be proud of, and I find myself in a rare position to say Tucson is starting to suck a little more than Phoenix, at least when it comes to MMJ.
The Valley has more organized clubs (we have none), more cannabis universities (we have none) and more cannabis superstores (how many do you think we have?). Granted, we've had Sea of Green on Fourth Avenue for years, but they aren't exactly waving the MMJ flag. Their website (www.sea-of-green.com) is all about "indoor gardening." The focus is food. Plus, there are Sea of Green stores in the Phoenix area, too.
The state didn't sue anyone in Southern Arizona over medical marijuana, and no one from Southern Arizona has sued the state, so they are having all the legal fun up in The Great Strip Mall.
They have had TWO kinds of raids (federal and local), while down here in sleepy little Tucson, we have had none of any kind. It might be nice to have something worth raiding.
The Valley's MMJ business community recently coalesced into the 203 Solidarity Council, which intends to foster the growth of MMJ businesses. The group of potential dispensary owners, clinics and other advocates (all from the Valley) recently gathered, appropriately, at a Comfort Inn to start forming committees.
Tucson's MMJ business community is a little less, well, communified. We don't really seem to have as many committees as Phoenix. We have the SW Arizona Patient Alliance, a nonprofit on Oracle Road that aims to help Southern Arizona MMJ patients any way it can. But the group's website (www.myswapa.com) is pretty static. The email link for the president doesn't work (returned undeliverable), and the event calendar lists twice as many board meetings as patient meetings.
The date on the home page reads July 23, 2011. Is that the day the website went live? The last time it was updated? Dunno. The home page includes a graphic—touting SWAPA Cannabis 101 classes that are coming soon. Soon, or sooner or later? To SWAPA's credit, the group is pretty active on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MySWAPA).
CSA Advocates, which has a clinic at 131 E. Speedway Blvd., bills itself as Arizona's premier MMJ certification and education center. Hmph. They aren't calling themselves Southern Arizona's premier MMJ certification and education center.
A call to the toll-free number on the website leads to a voicemail for CSA's Phoenix clinic. One compassion-club link on the Tucson CSA website (csatucson.com) is for a Phoenix club, Patient 2 Patient (one of the groups that have opted out of opening a Tucson compassion club). The other link (www.arizonacompassionclub.com) leads to Go Daddy.
All of the Phoenix MMJ businesses in the 203 Solidarity Council would be glad to take your business. You don't need to live in the Valley to be a member of one of the cannabis clubs there. You can shop at the Walmart of cannabis.
But wouldn't it be nice to have a club or two here? Maybe a cannabis university, or at least a community college? I was thinking about going back to school, but the commute to Phoenix is a bit much.
So ... until we get a few superstores and compassion clubs in Southern Arizona, until we have something worth a federal raid or a least a little chest-puffing from local police, I will have to say, maybe for the first time ever in my decades of memory here, that Tucson sucks more than Phoenix.
I think I just threw up a little.