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JAN. 21 - 27, 2021 • TUCSONWEEKLY.COM • FREE

Sundance in Tucson The Loft Cinema hosts a few outdoor movies from the nation’s top film fest By Jeff Gardner

THE SKINNY: Ducey’s Flim-Flam Act DANEHY: Not Exactly the Education Governor TUCSON WEEDLY: Arizonans Are Smoking More Pot Than Ever in the Pandemic



JAN. 21, 2021

JAN. 21, 2021

JAN. 21, 2021 | VOL. 36, NO. 3



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Pima County was leading the state is distributing the COVID vaccine last week, but demand far outstrips supply



Congressman Tom O’Halleran gives a firsthand account of the Capitol storming and subsequent impeachment vote



Gov. Doug Ducey stumbles into another fight with advocates of public schools



A New Day


AS I WRITE THIS, IT’S THE FINAL DAY of the Trump administration. There’s no doubt in my mind that Trump has been the worst president of my lifetime and I’m overjoyed to see him go. By the time you read this, Democrat Joe Biden will have been sworn into office and Trump will be just another twice-impeached, one-term president who lost the popular vote two times. Here’s hoping Biden’s inauguration goes as smoothly as possibly under the circumstances and we can start working on repairing the damage that Trump and his flying monkeys have wrought over the last four years. Still, we’ve got 99 problems, even if President Trump ain’t one of them. While Pima County officials are doing their best to roll out vaccines, the virus is now spreading faster than ever before. Staff reporter Nicole Ludden fills you in on how January is shaping up to be the worst month yet in terms of total number of cases and deaths in Pima County in one story this week. Ludden walks you through how vaccine distribution is going in another. Given those unhappy COVID numbers, the Weekly has been reluctant to encourage you to go out and do fun stuff—but we are making an exception this week for our friends at The Loft Cinema, who are staging screenings from the Sundance Film Festival at their open-air cinema. It’s quite an honor to become a Sundance

Satellite Screen and you can bet the selections will be challenging and rewarding movies. Associate editor Jeff Gardner has the details in this week’s cover story. It’s been a tough year for the Loft (and so many others) but let’s hope the release of the vaccine means brighter days are ahead in 2021. Elsewhere in the book: Columnist Tom Danehy looks at how Gov. Doug Ducey shouldn’t claim the title of “Education Governor” just yet; The Skinny returns with a look at how Ducey stumbled into an easily avoidable fight with education advocates last week; Tucson Weedly columnist David Abbott looks at how Arizonans are higher than ever after purchasing 106 tons of marijuana products last year; and we’ve got a look at how the vote to impeach President Donald Trump broke down along party lines, an interview with Congressman Tom O’Halleran why he voted for impeachment as well as his hopes for the Biden admininistration and our usual collection of horoscopes, puzzles, comics and, of course, Dan Savage’s incomparable sex-advice column. Stay well! — Jim Nintzel Executive Editor Hear Nintz talk about the latest on the outbreak and other news at 8:30 Wednesday mornings on The Frank Show on KLPX, 91.1 FM.

RANDOM SHOTS By Rand Carlson

Serving as a ‘satellite screen’ for Sundance is the Loft’s latest venture to survive COVID

ADMINISTRATION Jason Joseph, President/Publisher jjoseph@azlocalmedia.com Jaime Hood, General Manager, Ext. 12 jaime@tucsonlocalmedia.com Casey Anderson, Ad Director/ Associate Publisher, Ext. 22 casey@tucsonlocalmedia.com Claudine Sowards, Accounting, Ext. 13 claudine@tucsonlocalmedia.com Sheryl Kocher, Receptionist, Ext. 10 sheryl@tucsonlocalmedia.com EDITORIAL Jim Nintzel, Executive Editor, Ext. 38 jimn@tucsonlocalmedia.com Austin Counts, Managing Editor, Ext. 36 austin@tucsonlocalmedia.com Jeff Gardner, Associate Editor, Ext. 43 jeff@tucsonlocalmedia.com Mike Truelsen, Web Editor, Ext. 35 mike@tucsonlocalmedia.com Nicole Ludden, Staff Reporter, Ext. 42 nicolel@tucsonlocalmedia.com Contributors: Rob Brezsny, Max Cannon, Rand Carlson, Tom Danehy, Emily Dieckman, Bob Grimm, Andy Mosier, Linda Ray, Margaret Regan, Will Shortz, Jen Sorensen, Clay Jones, Dan Savage PRODUCTION David Abbott, Production Manager, Ext. 18 david@tucsonlocalmedia.com Ryan Dyson, Graphic Designer, Ext. 26 ryand@tucsonlocalmedia.com Emily Filener, Graphic Designer, Ext. 29 emilyf@tucsonlocalmedia.com CIRCULATION Alex Carrasco, Circulation, Ext. 17, alexc@tucsonlocalmedia.com ADVERTISING Kristin Chester, Account Executive, Ext. 25 kristin@tucsonlocalmedia.com Candace Murray, Account Executive, Ext. 24 candace@tucsonlocalmedia.com Lisa Hopper, Account Executive Ext. 39 lisa@tucsonlocalmedia.com Tyler Vondrak, Account Executive, Ext. 27 tyler@tucsonlocalmedia.com NATIONAL ADVERTISING VMG Advertising, (888) 278-9866 or (212) 475-2529 Tucson Weekly® is published every Thursday by 13 Street Media at 7225 N. Mona Lisa Rd., Ste. 125, Tucson, Arizona. Address all editorial, business and production correspondence to: Tucson Weekly, 7225 N. Mona Lisa Rd., Ste. 125, Tucson, Arizona 85741. Phone: (520) 797-4384, FAX (520) 575-8891. First Class subscriptions, mailed in an envelope, cost $112 yearly/53 issues. Sorry, no refunds on subscriptions. Member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN). The Tucson Weekly® and Best of Tucson® are registered trademarks of 10/13 Communications. Back issues of the Tucson Weekly are available for $1 each plus postage for the current year. Publisher has the right to refuse any advertisement at his or her discretion.



Arizonans bought nearly 106 tons of medical marijuana in 2020, setting a new record

Cover image is a still from the film Jockey, courtesy of Sundance Institute

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JAN. 21, 2021




Pima County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Michael Moseley gets his COVID vaccination from nurse Donna “Jeanne” Storie on Friday, Jan. 15.


Continued vaccine strain; 65+ population is now in group 1B

By Nicole Ludden nicolel@tucsonlocalmedia.com BETWEEN THE TIME PIMA County’s COVID-19 vaccine registration site went live last Thursday, Jan. 14, and Monday, Jan. 18, nearly 80,000 qualifying residents registered for an appointment. However, Pima County doesn’t have enough vaccines to administer to all registrants, according to Pima County Communications Director Mark Evans. Although demand for vaccines is outstripping the supply of them, Evans said more appointments will be added as the county receives its weekly vaccine allotment from the state. Those in the priority 1B group—which includes individuals over 75, educators and protective service workers—can register at any time, but receiving an appointment depends on vaccine ability at the site they register at. “People are able to register every single day. But it’s important to note that everybody who has registered, it doesn’t mean they’re going to get an appointment that day, it’s going to take some time,” Evans said. “It’s essentially creating a line to get in.” Those who qualify in the priority 1B group can register for a vaccine at www. pima.gov/covid19vaccineregistration or by

calling 520-222-0119. The county sends prioritized batches of registrations to their relative vaccine sites, but TMC and Banner’s registration sites work differently. TMC uploads registrations to its MyChart system, which notifies the registrant when an appointment is available for them to register, Evans said. Banner registrants will be able to make an appointment directly on the website if one is available based on the registrant’s priority group. “The only way with Banner is you just have to keep going back in and checking strategically to see if there are appointments,” Evans said. “We are making sure there are appointments available every day because the system’s modulated because it’s based on priority systems. So it’s not like it’s first come, first serve.” The registrations are filtered through Pima County, which grants vaccine appointments based on priority. The Banner and Tucson Medical Center sites will prioritize those 85 and older first, according to Evans. The county is allowing school districts to prioritize which staff members will receive the vaccine first, while law enforcement agencies and the courts also choose which workers among their agencies will be prioritized.

On the opening day of vaccine registration on Jan. 14, 20,000 Pima County residents registered for vaccines and all available appointments at the two Banner-operated vaccination sites and TMC were accounted for within two hours. Even County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry was unable to make an appointment. “I, myself attempted to register on the State system, qualified as essential and between the age of 65 and 74, and went through the laborious process to register, obtain an access code, develop a password, fill out all of the fields, including insurance and at the end was told there were no appointments available within 50 miles and no appointment would be available in the future,” he wrote in a memo. As of 7 p.m. the day registration systems for TMC and Banner opened, more than 44,700 registrations were accepted, according to Huckelberry’s memo. Individuals 75 and older, educators and protective service workers will be the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines as the county moves into phase 1B of vaccine rollout. Those 65 and older will be the fourth sub-group to receive the vaccine once the vaccination of the first three groups moves further along and more vaccine becomes available. The county’s Accelerated Immunization Plan was amended to include the 65+ age group in phase 1B as the CDC changed its guidelines to include those 65 and older, according to the memo. The 65+ population was originally under phase 1C of the county’s vaccination schedule, but the nearly 120,000 residents between ages 65 to 75 will now be in group 1B, Huckelberry wrote. As of Jan. 17, Pima County administered 46,847 COVID-19 vaccines and holds the state’s top vaccination rate at 4,484 per 100,000 of the population, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. The county had received 81,550 vaccine doses as of Jan. 15. Vaccines administered were at 41,556, while 6,754 second doses were given and 34,802 second doses were needed for recipients to be considered fully immunized, according to the memo. However, with the addition of those 65 and older in group 1B, nearly 400,000 individuals now qualify under phase 1B, adding further pressure to the already strained vaccination system. The coun-

ty usually receives around 12,500 doses per week, but has been expecting larger allocations from the state to keep up with demand. Although the county is now expecting 28,000 weekly doses, Huckelberry wrote this “is inadequate to sustain our vaccination capacity.” The county administrator said vaccine administration will “dramatically increase” this week as Banner’s vaccine site at the Kino Sports Complex opened on Monday and the Tucson Convention Center and University of Arizona sites were expected to open Wednesday, Jan. 20. Further complicating the county’s ability to quickly administer vaccines, Huckelberry said the absence of help from the state in rolling out six county vaccination centers has left Pima County to deal with logistical issues on its own. Meanwhile, with the help of the state health department, Maricopa County has created a 24/7 vaccination center at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale and is working on a second one at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium to open Feb. 1. SOME PROTECTIVE SERVICE WORKERS DIDN’T WAIT THEIR TURN Some prioritized groups successfully cut the line without the proper registration needed to receive a vaccine, demonstrating the ability to “introduce chaos into the registration system,” Huckelberry wrote. The county administrator reported several public law enforcement agencies went to TMC and more than 250 police officers from Tucson Police Department, the Sheriff’s office, FBI, members of the courts and attorneys arrived at the vaccine site without registering for appointments. “TMC was kind enough to oblige these individuals who failed to observe expected protocols regarding registration,” Huckelberry said. “It is unfortunate these individuals failed to understand the importance of observing established protocols and inserted their registration above those who are more critical.” The county administrator said he’s instructed TMC to deny vaccines to anyone who has not registered for an appointment. ■ If you qualify to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under group 1B, visit: www.pima.gov/ covid19vaccineregistration. A map of COVID-19 vaccine and testing centers is available at: https://pimatestcentersv3.netlify.app/vaccine-centers

JAN. 21, 2021



January could be the worst month for COVID spread in Pima County By Nicole Ludden nicolel@tucsonlocalmedia.com HALFWAY THROUGH JANUARY, Pima County is already on track to exceed the total COVID-19 case and death count of December. With 17,932 cases reported this month as of Jan. 15, the first month of 2021 will likely exceed the 29,663 coronavirus cases reported throughout December, according to a memo from County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. COVID-19 deaths totaled 329 from Jan. 1-15—also on pace to exceed December’s death total, the memo said. Arizona continues to have the highest coronavirus transmission rate in the nation with an average of 117 cases

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per 100,000 of the population, according to the CDC. “Arizona’s outbreak remains appallingly bad. A bit of good fortune (or preferably policy action) is needed to gain additional time to vaccinate Arizona’s most vulnerable citizens,” Dr. Joe Gerald, a UA professor who creates weekly coronavirus epidemiology reports based on Arizona Department of Health Services data, wrote in his latest report. “Daily cases and fatalities could double, or perhaps quadruple, before declining under the weight of natural and/or vaccine-induced immunity later this winter.” During the week ending Jan. 10, 8,274 Pima County residents were diagnosed with COVID-19, creating a


new record for weekly case counts in the county and representing an 11% increase from the week prior, according to Gerald’s report. According to Gerald, throughout Arizona, the week ending Jan. 10 saw 60,283 new COVID-19 cases, a 7% increase from the week prior. While the week of Dec. 20 still remains the state’s deadliest at 759 COVID-19 deaths, Gerald estimates this record will be broken in coming weeks as coronavirus deaths are on pace to exceed 700 a week “for the foreseeable future.” Gerald reported that coronavirus test positivity declined 2% the week ending Jan. 10 from the previous week throughout Arizona. “This indicates that viral transmission is now growing slower than testing capacity is increasing. Nevertheless, testing capacity remains woefully inadequate to the scale of the problem,” he wrote. As of Jan. 15, 56% of the state’s general ward hospital beds were occupied



by COVID-19 patients, a 1% decrease from the week prior. “Arizona has seen the first, albeit small, week-over-week decline in COVID-19 patients and percent occupancy in several months,” Gerald said in the report. “While still incredibly high, the change is welcomed.” ICU bed usage by coronavirus patients increased 2% from the week prior with 64% of beds holding COVID-19 patients. Gerald said hospitals’ slight COVID-19 occupancy decrease shows “some moderation of demand for COVID-19 care,” but the numbers shouldn’t be taken at face value when considering the ongoing constraints hospitals experience daily. He wrote, “Even if this moderation persists, hospitals will remain dangerously overcrowded for the foreseeable future compromising access to care for COVID-19 and non-COVID patients alike.” ■ Read more online at tucsonweekly.com

For the latest news and updates



JAN. 21, 2021



Congressman Tom O’Halleran says he’ll remember the Trump administration “from the standpoint of the inability of the president to tell the American people the truth.”


Congressman O’Halleran explains impeachment vote “[The Capitol police] were overwhelmed quickly. The windows were smashed, and people got in through there,” O’Halleran said. “The weapons that were brought and AS CONGRESSMAN TOM the ability to have baseball bats and other O’Halleran conferred with his colleagues things within that building structure, that before the certification of President-Elect should never happen.” Joe Biden’s electoral college win, he Congress returned to the Capitol the heard the unsettling discord of gunshots, night of Jan. 6 to certify Biden’s win. A windows breaking and insurrectionists week later, O’Halleran was part of the 232 banging on the Capitol doors in attempts to 197 vote to impeach President Donald to upend the historically peaceful transfer of power and embodiment of democracy in Trump for his role in inciting the violence. “Nobody likes to be in that position. We the United States. would rather have our country not have The Democrat representing Arizona’s to go through indictments,” O’Halleran District 1—which includes Oro Valley and said. “But you also would rather have Marana—joined his fellow lawmakers in somebody that was going to be honest reaching for gas masks under their seats with the American people and not lie on and leaving their chambers as Capitol police rushed them out with warnings a mob a consistent basis. But more importantly on that day, at that time, and leading up to was just seconds behind them. “They started banging on the doors, par- it, there’s plenty of proof that he wanted ticularly on the third floor, to try to get into people in Washington, he wanted them the gallery,” O’Halleran said. “At one point, to react, he had made statements to that effect...To go there and make sure that we about 20 minutes after things started, we were asked to leave the chambers orderly.” weren’t allowed to vote on a certification Although members of congress survived of elections. That’s just not what our great American government and great country the riot, five lives were taken as Capitol police became overwhelmed by rioters who should be about.” As Trump leaves office on Jan. 20, the used the Capitol’s fencing as ladders to Arizona congressman won’t just remember breach it.

By Nicole Ludden nicolel@tucsonlocalmedia.com

his last four years under the presidency for one of the most terrifying days he spent doing his job, but for the repeated lies that stained Trump’s administration. “I’ll remember [the presidency] from the standpoint of the inability of the president to tell the American people the truth...My speech on the floor after the attempted insurrection was that we have to realize as government officials, as elected representatives of people, we need to tell the truth,” O’Halleran said. “There is and continues to be way too much political infighting in our government, and that has to stop. We have to move forward as a country, and I’m concerned about that.” As O’Halleran moves into the next two years of representing Arizona’s District 1 (which also includes Flagstaff, northern Arizona Native American reservations and much of rural eastern Arizona) he hopes the divisiveness stoked over the past four years will simmer down to a bipartisan state of compromise. “As people in Arizona know, I work across the aisle all the time. It’s gotten harder in some respects, and within certain groups, it’s been easier. We have to find this level of being able to work together on the priorities that our nation faces,” he said. O’HALLERAN’S PRIORITIES IN THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION The representative’s first priority as a member of the 117th U.S. congress is addressing COVID-19, which Arizona currently holds the highest transmission rate for in the entire nation. However, despite multiple attempts to communicate with Gov. Doug Ducey, O’Halleran hasn’t received a response. “It’s very frustrating when you have a lack of communication from the governor of a state to the level that it is right now. I have no explanation of why that communication can’t be made. Early on, they had a process where our staff were able to talk to his senior staff and it worked out well, then he stopped it,” O’Halleran said. “It doesn’t look good that we have that big dark blue on our state on the maps right now that people are not getting inoculated enough.” While O’Halleran’s communicated with local jurisdictions on the spread of COVID-19 in the rural and tribal areas he represents, he feels a lack of transparency from the state is barring important information about how citizens are receiving vaccines. “We all want to know what’s happening

in rural America, are vaccinations getting out there in the numbers that they should be getting out? Of course, we’ve seen the tragedy on our tribal lands. We are in constant communication with the Indian Health Services, I can call them up at any moment and be able to schedule a meeting and get that meeting quickly,” he said. “But I can’t get our own governor to say, ‘Come on down and meet with me and I want you to let you know what’s going on in Arizona.’” O’Halleran’s second priority is restoring the economy that’s been obliterated by the coronavirus. “We have to get to the bottom lines of how we move America forward. We have competitors all over the world, we have to be in front of them,” O’Halleran said. “That’ll help our families to have an economy. We have small businesses being decimated, even with the help that we’ve been able to get out there. We have to bring them back.” The congressman feels the ballooning federal deficit is imperative to address sooner than later. “Revenues will go up, the first point is we bring our economy back. I haven’t heard a reasonable reason why we should not be investing in saving our economy and the saving of our people,” O’Halleran said. “Luckily for us, interest rates are low. But it’s going to be a huge burden in the future.” He also feels addressing infrastructure is key to overcoming the issues exacerbated by the pandemic, although he estimates the price tag for fixing the nation’s roads and bridges could be as high as $5 trillion and that figure doesn’t include other infrastructure needs such as aging water lines and sewer pipes. “I’ve been watching these same issues for decades, but they’ve only gotten worse,” he said. Ultimately, O’Halleran said he and his colleagues have to get past the partisan gridlock and fighting that has paralyzed Washington. “We are not going in the right direction right now, not just because of this administration, but because of our tendency to not say to the American people, here’s our priorities, and we have to address those priorities,” he said. “People elect representatives to do the representing of them first. Not politics, not making statements that’ll get us reelected, but making sure we care for the people that we represent. We have to work together…. It’s the United States of America, and we have to bring that back.” ■

JAN. 21, 2021




House of Representatives votes to indict President Donald Trump for inciting violence, trying to subvert election By Jim Nintzel jimn@tucsonlocalmedia.com EVEN THOUGH DEMOCRAT JOE Biden’s inauguration was just a week away, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 232-197 on Wednesday, Jan. 13, to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time following his incitement of a mob that overran the U.S. Capitol in early January. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, were killed in the resulting rampage. Ten Republicans, including Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, joined all of the House Democrats in voting for impeachment, making it the most bipartisan impeachment vote in U.S.

history. The impeachment resolution states that Trump “engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by inciting violence against the government of the United States.” It notes that while a joint session of Congress was in the process of counting the electoral votes affirming Biden’s win, Trump addressed a crowd of supporters and “reiterated false claims that ‘we won this election, and we won it by a landslide.’ He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in—lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘if you don’t fight like hell, CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

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JAN. 21, 2021


Gov. Doug Ducey stumbles into another fight with advocates of public schools Jim Nintzel jnintzel@tucsonweekly.com GOV. DOUG DUCEY LAUNCHED his State of the State address with a condemnation of the storming of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month and a call for collaboration between the political parties. Quoting Abraham Lincoln, Ducey said: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.” But it didn’t take long for Ducey to slip into the malice lane as he went after school districts that haven’t resumed classes. “With every public-health professional, from Dr. Fauci and the CDC on down, saying that the safest place for kids to be is in school, we will not be funding empty seats or allowing schools to remain in a perpetual state of closure,” Ducey said. “Children still need to learn, even in a pandemic.” There’s no doubt this has been a terrible year for kids, and Ducey isn’t wrong to say that they are missing out on vital experiences that go along with being in the classroom. But at the same time, Ducey himself had to deliver his State of the State via livestream because he didn’t think it was safe to be in the House of Representatives chamber with a big group of lawmakers. So it was no surprise when education leaders started hammering him for his call to get kids back into classrooms. Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman issued a statement that made the obvious point that getting control of the COVID outbreak was key to reopening schools—and right now, under Ducey’s leadership, Arizona is one of worst hotspots in the world. “In the face of enormous hardship and loss, teachers and schools have gone above and beyond to ensure students’ learning continues amid school facility closures,” Hoffman said. “To say otherwise—without a commitment to fund distance learning—contributes to the toxic

environment where teachers, board members and superintendents are harassed for making data-driven decisions.” Ducey was backtracking by the end of the week, saying his comments had been misinterpreted. (We checked with Ducey’s new communications honcho, C.J. Karamargin, to clarify what Ducey meant, but never heard back.) Ducey and his underlings told other media that he really meant that if students left traditional schools to attend charters or private schools, districts would lose out on funding. But why was Ducey laying into districts that are struggling to keep teachers, staff and students healthy while providing an education under these miserable circumstances? Did he just want to find some way of getting back into the good graces of the Mean Girls and Boys in the Arizona Legislature who have turned on him over his (relatively minor) efforts to contain the COVID outbreak? Later in the week, Team Ducey sent out a press release filled with praise for his proposed budget, with the headline “Gov. Ducey’s Recovery-Focused Budget Praised Across the Board by Arizonans.” Sure, if by “across the board,” you mean right-leaning groups such as the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Greater Phoenix Chamber, National Federation of Independent Business Arizona and a handful of education groups dedicated to supporting charter and private schools. But other education advocates were less excited about Ducey’s plans, including his proposal to once again cut income taxes by $200 million a year—especially since Arizona voters just passed a ballot prop to increase income taxes on Arizona’s highest earners to fund education program. Ducey can’t reverse that, but he can push lawmakers to trim back income taxes in general in order to reduce its impact on his rich pals. Ducey’s budget blueprint doesn’t get into details of who would benefit from his proposal, so we’ll just have to wait to see who the winners and losers are. Expect More Arizona President and CEO Christine M. Thompson, who advo-

cates for public schools, was diplomatic in her response to the governor’s proposed budget, saying that while there were “some incredibly impactful initiatives in the Governor’s budget proposal—like funding for early literacy and investments to accelerate student learning for those most impacted by the pandemic—there are persistent, systemic education issues that remain unaddressed.” “We still lack general fund support for early education; the formula to fund our community colleges continues to be suspended; and new investments in our universities pale in comparison to the massive cuts they took over a decade ago,” Thompson said. “If Arizona leaders are truly committed to reaching the Arizona Education Progress Meter goals the state must adequately fund the investment priorities outlined in the Roadmap for P-20 Education Funding. Supporting our education infrastructure is critical to Arizona’s long-term success.” Dawn Penich-Thacker of Save Our Schools Arizona, noted that Ducey “is consistent about two things: patting himself on the back and cheating Arizona families when it comes to our public schools. Arizona still lags the national average by nearly $4 billion a year. Arizona still has the worst counselor-to-student ratio in the nation, the worst teacher-retention crisis and, relatedly, remains 49th



in teacher pay.” Penich said she supported some of Ducey’s proposals, such as spending on school repair and improving broadband infrastructure, but she noted that Arizona’s public schools were projected to lose $389 million, primarily because distance learning is only being funded at 95% even though the shift to virtual schooling has increased expenses. “While cutting funding for over 1 million school children, Ducey’s budget siphons those tax dollars away from public education and into piecemeal privatization schemes like microschool grants, for-profit charter schools, ESA vouchers and funding formulas long-proven to be discriminatory, such as results-based funding.” Ducey can crap all over public schools as much as he wants, but it probably won’t help him if he decides to pursue a rumored challenge to Sen. Mark Kelly next year. Expect More Arizona recently released a December survey of Arizona voters that shows that education remains the top issue in the minds of a plurality of Arizona voters, despite the pandemic. Education issues was the top concern of 28% of voters, while healthcare came in at 18% and jobs/economy came in at 16%. We’ll dig into those numbers more next week, because we’re all out of room for this edition. ■

JAN. 21, 2021

DANEHY TEACHERS SHOULDN’T BE FORCED TO RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM UNTIL IT’S SAFE TO DO SO By Tom Danehy, tucsonweekly@tucsonlocalmedia.com A WISE OLD OWL EMAILED ME the other day and asked, “It’s really something when Ducey has to deliver an address in an isolated location because he doesn’t think the Legislature is safe but he’s telling teachers to get back to work, eh?” In the original Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi told Daniel, “You walk on road, walk on right side, safe. Walk on left side, safe. You walk middle, sooner or later (sound effect), you get squished just like grape.” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is long overdue for being squished like a grape. He’s the smarmy kind of politician who tries to offer a little bit of appeal to everybody. And now he’s doing it again with education. “I’m all for public education…as long as it doesn’t cost too much…but private education is great, too and we need to help parents send their kids to private schools by diverting tax money for that…but we can never raise taxes…as for the pandemic, I think you should wear a mask, but I’m not going to tell you to wear a mask, but I think you should wear a mask, but I don’t


think mayors should be able to force you to wear a mask, but you probably should wear a mask, but I’m not telling you to wear a mask…” Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. Taxes pay for schools and roads, police and fire protection, our military, and so many other things. But somewhere along the way, “tax” became a dirty word and cutting taxes became the singsong mantra used by politicians with no brains or imagination to entice voters with no sense of community. A majority of Americans believe that foreign aid makes up 25% of the federal budget while, in fact, it’s actually less than 1%. They also believe that we are one of the highest-taxed countries in the world; we’re not even in the Top 20. I sincerely believe that Americans are generous by nature, but for some reason when it comes to paying for all of the services that they want and expect from their various layers of government, people’s sphincters seize up and their wallets slam shut. We, as a society, should be better—and smarter—

than that. A great politician would be able to explain why higher taxes are necessary, while reassuring their constituents that the increased revenue will be used wisely and prudently. A good politician will commiserate with the citizens, trying to explain the need for taxes while sharing in everybody’s pain. A crummy politician (like Ducey) can remain in office by blathering on like Richard Pryor’s pimps on cocaine (“be talkin’ all the time but don’t be sayin’ sh-t”) and then ending with “Let’s cut taxes!” It’s like that scene in Billy Madison where Billy, in front of a packed highschool auditorium, is asked about the Industrial Revolution but instead talks about the children’s book “The Puppy Who Lost His Way.” After babbling on for a while, he realizes that he has lost his audience, so he yells “Knibb High football rules!” and the crowd goes crazy. A quick aside: This shouldn’t matter, but it does (to me). I can’t watch Doug Ducey talk, because when I do, I see Richard Kind. (Google him; you’re sure to say, “Oh, I’ve seen THAT guy a million times!”) He’s got a unique face, a distinctive voice, and a marvelously whiny way of talking. Watch a clip of Richard Kind, then watch Ducey. They both make the same faces, their mouths move the same way, and they both linger over certain syllables in words. It’s uncanny and quite distracting. In 20 years, Ducey will no longer resemble



Richard Kind. He’ll look like Statler and Waldorf, those two crotchety guys who sit up in the balcony and heckle on the Muppets. While I am certain that there are a handful of teachers in the state that are just as happy as pigs in slop to be able to stay at home and teach in their pajamas, the vast majority of teachers want desperately to get back in the classroom and fulfill their life’s calling. But they shouldn’t have to risk their lives (or those of their families) to do so. If Ducey had done his damn job instead of walking down the middle of the road (thereby managing to piss off everybody—the people who are concerned about health and those concerned about commerce), Arizona wouldn’t be worst place in the entire world for COVID cases. Teachers and students are doing the best they can under horrible, once-in-acentury (we hope) circumstances. We desperately need to get the vaccine into the arms of teachers as quickly as possible. But we can’t rush them back into the classroom before it’s safe to be there. And, instead of talking about health and safety, what is our jackass Governor talking about? Money. In his State of the State, delivered from a bunker somewhere, he said, “…we will not be funding empty seats or allowing schools to remain in a perpetual state of closure.” Who cares if teachers die? I want to cut taxes! Idiot. ■



JAN. 21, 2021


you’re not going to have a country anymore.’ Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed … unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.” The resolution also points to other efforts by Trump to subvert the election, such as his January phone to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to rig the election in his favor. A recording of the call was released to the media. Trump “has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule

of law,” the resolution reads. The vote broke along party lines, as all five Democrats in the Arizona delegation—Reps. Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Tom O’Halleran, Ruben Gallego and Greg Stanton—voted in favor of impeachment. All four Republicans—Reps. Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Debbie Lesko and David Schweikert— voted against it. Grijalva (D-AZ03) said Trump remains a “clear and present danger to this country and must face responsibility for his actions.” “Impeachment is reserved for the extreme situations when a President betrays their oath of office, abuses their power, and loses the trust of the American people,” Grijalva said. “President Trump did exactly that as he urged deranged individuals to march on the Capitol and threaten lawmakers to overturn the results of the election and illegally install him in power. As mobs overpowered Capitol police, he refused to forcefully condemn them. He has since showed no remorse for

his actions and bears responsibility for this horrific attack.” Kirkpatrick said she “did my constitutional duty and voted to remove him from office for not doing his.” “My Democratic colleagues and I took this measure swiftly and strongly so that not only is he removed from serving the rest of his term, but also so that he may never hold federal office again,” said Kirkpatrick (D-AZ02). “I encourage my Republican colleagues to support the efforts to hold the President responsible for his unconscionable actions. We owe justice to Americans. Unity now is putting country over party.” O’Halleran (D-AZ01) said that Trump “refused to concede in a free and fair election, making countless attempts to overturn the results that were all struck down in courts of law. He incited insurrection by domestic terrorists who attacked our Capitol, threatening the lives of law enforcement officers, staff, and Members, and desecrating the building that rep-

resents our very democracy.” Biggs (AZ-05) said Democrats were being unfair to Trump. “The Democrats’ shameful, reckless, and partisan quest to obliterate their nemesis, Donald J. Trump, will only serve to make him a political martyr,” Biggs said. Biggs and Gosar (AZ-04) have been praised by one of the organizers of last week’s Stop the Steal rally for assisting him in organizing it, according to the Washington Post. Biggs told the Washington Post he did not help organize the rally, while Gosar did not comment to the Washington Post. Gosar, who made a motion to reject Arizona’s electoral voters during the ceremonial counting last week, did not comment to the Washington Post regarding his role in the planning of last week’s events.  The impeachment now moves to the U.S. Senate, which is expected to conduct the trial as it also moves to Democratic control. ■

JAN. 21, 2021



Serving as a ‘satellite screen’ for Sundance is the Loft’s latest venture to survive COVID


“Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It” is a documentary about Rita Moreno, and one of many Sundance Films featured at the Loft Cinema next week.

THOSE FAMILIAR WITH THE LOFT Cinema might know of a certain gong that gets struck when the audience deems a homemade film sufficiently unbearable. And while that gong hasn’t rang out in nearly a year, it continues to symbolize the arthouse cinema’s connection, both to the local film community and to thinking outside the box. It’s no secret 2020 was arduous for movie theaters, but the nonprofit Loft kept busy with a variety of unique movie events— and their upcoming screenings of the Sundance Film Festival may be their most important yet. Ironically enough, 2020 was the best start to a year the Loft had ever experienced. But everything changed in that second week of March. According to executive director Peggy Johnson, the theater staff met on Wednesday, March 11, to discuss how they’d proceed during the pandemic. On Thursday, they realized the situation was becoming severe. On Friday, they reduced capacity. And on Sunday, they completely closed. “It was like a total flip of a switch, going from our best year ever to closed,” Johnson said. “And now it’s gone on so much longer than anyone thought.” Within that initial month of closure,

With summer winding down, the Loft the Loft started the first of many COVID initiated their next major project: Open endeavors: streaming films. Thanks to a Air Cinema. For the first time since partnership with distributors, fans were closing, dozens of people could come to able to view films on the Loft’s website. They began selling curbside concessions the Loft to see a movie, albeit projected outdoors in their parking lot. They began soon after. According to Johnson, these two alternatives began strong, but dwin- by screening cult classics like American Psycho and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. For dled over time. the first few months, every screening Smaller ventures followed: custom sold out. messages on their Johnson says marquee, personthese types of alized film recomideas were shared mendations, sales of between arthouse backlog inventory. cinemas. During But by the beginning these difficult times, of summer, they the industry grew initiated their most closer, and cinemas successful option let each other know yet: private screenabout which tactics ings. Groups of 10 worked, and if there or less could rent were any new nonan entire theater at profit funds they $100 an hour to view Tabitha Jackson may have missed. nearly any movie Sundance Film Festival director they’d like—a useful But even more outing for those unlucky enough to have support came from their patrons. Whereas supporters previously purchased a a “pandemic birthday.” membership to enjoy perks like free “That also really caught on, but again dwindled,” Johnson said. “I think people movies and snacks, Johnson says people are now becoming members simply to just got so afraid when the peaks support the Loft. Supporters also led to happened.”

Even under these impossible circumstances, artists are still finding paths to make bold and vital work in whatever ways they can.

the Loft being able to screen new films outdoors, a critical step to becoming one of the locations for this year’s Sundance Film Festival. “It’s been very gratifying to see how much we mean to people. Because they don’t just send a donation, they also send notes of support. And I’ve heard that from nonprofits all over Tucson, that the public has been incredible,” Johnson said. “And through the generosity of some of our supporters, we were able to get a [Digital Cinema Package] projector, which you basically need to screen new movies outside.” The Sundance Film Festival is the largest independent film festival in the nation, credited with being the “big break” for directors like Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith and Paul Thomas Anderson. After four decades, the festival is going virtual for the first time, and joining up with more than 20 “Satellite Screens”: arthouse cinemas throughout the nation that will be hosting events and live screenings during the festival’s run. “Even under these impossible circumstances, artists are still finding paths to make bold and vital work in whatever CONTINUED ON PAGE 12



JAN. 21, 2021



ways they can,” said Tabitha Jackson, director of the Sundance Film Festival in a press release. “So Sundance, as a festival of discovery, will bring that work to its first audiences in whatever ways we can. The core of our Festival in the form of an online platform and socially distanced cinematic experiences is responsive to the pandemic and gives us the opportunity to reach new audiences, safely, where they are.” The Loft will be the only Satellite Screen in Arizona, and according to Loft program director Jeff Yanc, the Loft was the first cinema Sundance asked to participate. “In June when Sundance first approached us, all the COVID parts were still moving. No one knew how things would look in January 2021, so this whole process has been evolving over the months,” Yanc said. “We wanted to start the Open Air Cinema because we knew our own theater wouldn’t be opening for indoor screenings anytime in

2020, and that perfectly dovetailed with Sundance so that we could do all those screenings outdoors.” The Loft will screen a variety of new Sundance films from Thursday, Jan. 28 through Wednesday, Feb. 3, including Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, a documentary about Puerto Rican actress and singer Rita Moreno; Judas and the Black Messiah, a biopic about Black Panther Fred Hampton who was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police; and Jockey, a drama about an aging horse rider aiming for his final championship. Because the Loft’s Open Air Cinema is still at reduced capacity, Yanc anticipates the films will sell out quickly. In addition to the screenings, the Satellite Screens will host “Beyond Film” events, which aim to add local perspectives on films where they’re showing. The Loft will be hosting a virtual Q&A with the filmmakers of Jockey, which was filmed in Arizona; and a panel discussion around Rita Moreno (who was a guest at the Loft in 2015), speaking with local Hispanic women of influence such


“At The Ready,” a documentary about El Paso students enrolling in law enforcement classes, is screening at the Loft on Feb. 2.


The Loft’s Open Air Cinema moved from screening classics to new films to Sundance premieres.

as Mayor Regina Romero. “We host a film festival every year ourselves, and have early access to the films. But for Sundance, we haven’t seen the films yet because of the world-premiere status, so it’s a very different model for putting the festival together,” Yanc said. “I’m in the position of a viewer as well, which is very exciting.” Due to their success with outdoor screenings, Yanc anticipates the Loft will continue their Open Air Cinema even once they can completely reopen. “This has actually been a great way to start what I think is going to be another very unusual year,” Yanc said. “Getting to be part of the Sundance Film Festival is really an honor… I think it’s not only good for the Loft, but good for the Tucson film community in general. It raises the visibility of Tucson both on the national and international film scene.” Looking forward, there is still much in the air for the Loft. The pandemic hindered plans for expansion that would have added two new screens and


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enlarged the concessions area. Now, the Loft staff has “scaled back ambitions,” but still plans on at least increasing accessibility to their upstairs screen and restrooms. In the meantime, they simply plan on getting movies to the masses however they can. “We’ve wanted to maintain a presence and relationship with our audiences, and help people continue to experience the Loft in whatever form is possible, whether that’s a rental or streaming or coming to the Sundance films,” Johnson said. “It probably would have been cheaper for us to simply close our doors and let all the staff go, but we wanted to keep people employed and engaged the best we could. I’m really happy we were able to, because it’s been a kind of refuge from the scariness of the world.” ■ Sundance Film Festival at The Loft Cinema runs from Thursday, Jan. 28, through Wednesday, Feb. 3. 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., plus virtual events. For more information, visit loftcinema.org

JAN. 21, 2021


Arizonans bought nearly 106 tons of medical marijuana in 2020, setting a new record By David Abbott david@tucsonlocalmedia.com ARIZONA MEDICAL MARIJUANA sales ended 2020 on a powerful high, even as voters legalized recreational use in November—and elected a president who has vowed to decriminalize pot. Whether it was inspired by patients being shut-in during a global COVID pandemic, or getting in some practice for the rush of legal recreational weed that should be hitting the shelves soon, the MMJ business had a bellwether year. Starting with a lock-down purchasing binge that took place in March, 2020 saw a sustained increase in business that con-

tinued each month through the end of the year, setting a record for weed sales since MMJ was legalized in 2010. Whatever the reasons behind it, last year Arizonans purchased 211,556 pounds of various forms of legal cannabis, nearly 106 tons, a significant increase from 2019, which weighed in at 165,722 pounds or almost 83 tons. That was also nearly double the amount sold in 2018, which totaled about 61 tons. The year ended on a high note, with 50,000 transactions for more than 900 pounds sold on Dec. 31 to cap a monthly total of 19,276 pounds, compared to the March total of 17,094 lbs. All that economic activity was generated

by 295,295 qualified patients, representing an increase of more than 75,000 from 2019, when the state had 219,817 qualified patients, and 2018, which totaled 186,002. Even after voters passed Prop 207, applications for MMJ certificates continued at an impressive pace. There were 3,500 new license applications statewide in the month of December, bringing total applications for the year to 154,580. More than 61,000 qualifying patients renewed their licenses over the course of the year, and 28,562 patients were approved in Pima County. Given the massive change coming to the marketplace, many believe the medical cannabis portion will maintain its economic heft in a sector that is expected to generate more than $1 billion annually once the recreational market adjusts in about three years. “I believe that the medical marijuana program is strong as we transition to both a medical and adult-use market,” said Southern Arizona NORML President Mike Robinette. “The program continues to grow unabated ... There will exist real and tangible differences relative to medical and adult-use that I feel will influence patients to remain in the medical program.” Robinette cites tax rates and possession limits as factors, as MMJ patients in Tuc-


son will pay about 8.7% in state and local taxes, while recreational will see a 16% tax rate right off the top. “Myriad patients simply cannot afford that extra cost with regard to purchasing their medicine,” Robinette said. MMJ patients also have employment protections not afforded to recreational users and don’t have to deal with a potency cap on adult-use edibles that limits a package to 100 mg with 10 mg servings, and will still be able to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana as compared to one ounce with adult-use. “Given these differences between medical and adult-use, I just don’t see a massive migration of patients over to the adult-use market,” he concluded. “Therefore, I feel that the medical program will continue to flourish within the overall legalized market in Arizona.” NEW NUGGETS How do we get seeds for our Victory Gardens? A Weedly reader recently emailed to ask how she might be able to acquire seeds to start her own “victory garden.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 14



JAN. 21, 2021

“We are allowed by definition,” said Moe Asnani, owner of Tucson’s Downtown and D2 dispensaries and co-founder of iLava. “Do we plan on doing it on day one? Probably not.” So for now, find a friend who grows good weed and is willing to share, or do substantive research online to find the best seed bank option. Or wait a few days for things to change again, as AZDHS has until April 5 to put all the statutes in place.



Since many aspects of the legal structure pertaining to recreational pot are still being laid out by AZDHS, the legality of acquiring seeds and starters for home growing are murky and not specifically addressed as of this writing. Roopali H. Desai, a partner at Coppersmith Brockelman, a Phoenix-based law firm that was primary author of the initiative, says the language of Prop 207 would not allow the transfer of plants, unless they are gifts from the grower. “The adult use statutes and related proposed rules issued by the AZDHS are silent with respect to the sale or transfer of seeds,” she said. “However, Proposition 207 (at A.R.S. Section 36-2852) specifically addresses the transfer of marijuana plants. Under that statutory provision, transferring up to six marijuana plants is legal to a person who is at least 21 years of age, but the transfer must be without remuneration.” So short of the AZDHS creating rules to specifically allow sale of marijuana “starter kits,” at this point in time, home growers must rely on gifts or online “seed banks,” remote purveyors of cannabis seeds that are mostly located outside of the state. The

seeds can be expensive and are vulnerable to confiscation should the U.S. Postal Service determine what they are. That said, some dispensary owners believe the rules are murky enough to allow sales and that AZDHS will not bother with enforcement if things remain the way they are. This is due in part to the definition of “marijuana” laid out in the Prop 207 that reads in part, “all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, whether growing or not, as well as the seeds from the plant.”

Are we in for MORE from the Biden Administration? Last September, the Weekly reported on the passage of House Resolution 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, a federal attempt to “decriminalize and deschedule cannabis, to provide for reinvestment in certain persons adversely impacted by the War on Drugs [and] provide for expungement of certain cannabis offenses.” The MORE Act was introduced in September 2019 by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), was passed through the House with a large majority, but ran into the Mitch McConnell wall in the Senate. The House once again passed MORE in December, but given the political turmoil in

post-election America and the hold Republicans had in Senate, it has been languishing in limbo. But given the new makeup of the Senate—50-50 with Vice-President Kamala Harris representing a potential deciding vote—there is a possibility MORE will come back this year with a reasonable chance for success. “This change in leadership holds important implications for federal marijuana policy reform and paves the way for the 117th Congress to potentially approve legislation to repeal the nearly century-long federal prohibition of cannabis,” stated a recent NORML press release. NORML hopes the Biden Administration makes MORE a priority within its first 100 days, as VP Harris was a Senate co-sponsor of the bill. “Under a Biden-Harris administration, we will decriminalize the use of marijuana and automatically expunge all marijuana-use convictions, and end incarceration for drug use alone,” Harris said in a September town hall event on ABC television. “This is no time, from our collective perspective, for half-steppin.’” The Weedly holds out hope, but will not be holding its breath. ■

JAN. 21, 2021

TUCSON AREA DISPENSARIES Bloom Tucson. 4695 N. Oracle Road, Ste. 117 293-3315; bloomdispensary.com Open: Sunday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Botanica. 6205 N. Travel Center Drive 395-0230; botanica.us Open: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily Desert Bloom Re-Leaf Center. 8060 E. 22nd St., Ste. 108 886-1760; dbloomtucson.com Open: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily Offering delivery Downtown Dispensary. 221 E. 6th St., Ste. 105 838-0492; thedowntowndispensary.com Open: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily D2 Dispensary. 7105 E 22nd St. 214-3232; d2dispensary.com/ Open: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily Earth’s Healing. Two locations: North: 78 W. River Road 395-1432 South: 2075 E. Benson Highway 373-5779 earthshealing.org Open: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Offering delivery The Green Halo. 7710 S. Wilmot Road 664-2251; thegreenhalo.org Open: Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Green Med Wellness Center. 6464 E. Tanque Verde Road 520-281-1587; facebook.com/GreenMedWellnessCenter Open: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Hana Green Valley. 1732 W. Duval Commerce Point Place 289-8030 Open: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Harvest of Tucson . 2734 East Grant Road 314-9420; askme@harvestinc.com; Harvestofaz. com Open: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily Nature Med. 5390 W. Ina Road 620-9123; naturemedinc.com Open: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily The Prime Leaf Two locations: 4220 E. Speedway Blvd. 1525 N. Park Ave. 44-PRIME; theprimeleaf.com Open: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Speedway location closed Wednesday; Park Ave. location closed Tuesday. Purple Med Healing Center. 1010 S. Freeway, Ste. 130 398-7338; www.facebook.com/PurpleMedHealingCenter Open: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Southern Arizona Integrated Therapies. 112 S. Kolb Road 886-1003; medicalmarijuanaoftucson.com Open: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily Total Accountability Patient Care. 226 E. 4th St., Benson 586-8710; bensondispensary.com Open: Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 .m. to 7 p.m.




JAN. 21, 2021


By Rob Brezsny. Go to RealAstrology.com to check out Rob Brezsny’s EXPANDED WEEKLY HOROSCOPE 1-877-873-4888 or 1-900-950-7700 $1.99 per minute. 18 and over. Touchtone phone required.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): On May 4, 2019, my Aries friend Leah woke up in a state of amazement. During the night, she felt she had miraculously become completely enlightened. Over the next 16 hours, she understood her life perfectly. Everything made sense to her. She was in love with every person and animal she knew. But by the next morning, the exalted serenity had faded, and she realized that her enlightenment had been temporary. She wasn’t mad or sad, however. The experience shook her up so delightfully that she vowed to forevermore seek to recreate the condition she had enjoyed. Recently she told me that on virtually every day since May 4, 2019, she has spent at least a few minutes, and sometimes much longer, exulting in the same ecstatic peace that visited her back then. That’s the Aries way: turning a surprise, spontaneous blessing into a permanent breakthrough. I trust you will do that soon. TAURUS (April 20-May 20): One morning, famous French army general Hubert Lyautey (1854–1934) instructed his gardener to spend the next day planting a row of saplings on his property. The gardener agreed, but advised Lyautey that this particular species of tree required 100 years to fully mature. “In that case,” Lyautey said, “plant them now.” I recommend that you, too, expedite your long-term plans, Taurus. Astrologically speaking, the time is ripe for you to take crisp action to fulfill your big dreams. GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Someone asked poet E. E. Cummings what home was for him. He responded poetically, talking about his lover. Home was “the stars on the tip of your tongue, the flowers sprouting from your mouth, the roots entwined in the gaps between your fingers, the ocean echoing inside your ribcage.” What about you, Gemini? If you were asked to give a description of what makes you feel glad to be alive and helps give you the strength to be yourself, what would you say?

Now would be a good time to identify and honor the influences that inspire you to create your inner sense of home. CANCER (June 21-July 22): “Be sweet to me, world,” pleads Cancerian poet Stephen Dunn in one of his poems. In the coming weeks, I invite you to address the world in a similar way. And since I expect the world will be unusually receptive and responsive to your requests, I’ll encourage you to add even more entreaties. For example, you could say, “Be revelatory and educational with me, world,” or “Help me deepen my sense that life is meaningful, world,” or “Feed my soul with experiences that will make me smarter and wilder and kinder, world.” Can you think of other appeals and supplications you’d like to express to the world? LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Throughout his many rough travels in the deserts of the Middle East, the Leo diplomat and army officer known as Lawrence of Arabia (1888–1935) didn’t give up his love of reading. While riding on the backs of camels, he managed to study numerous tomes, including the works of ancient Greek writers Aeschylus and Aristophanes. I’d love to see you perform comparable balancing acts in the coming weeks, Leo. The astrological omens suggest you’ll be skilled at coordinating seemingly uncoordinatable projects and tasks—and that you’ll thrive by doing so. (PS: Your efforts may be more metaphorical and less literal than Lawrence’s.) VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Sculptor Stefan Saal testifies that one of his central questions as a creator of art is to know when a piece is done. “When making a thing I need to decide when is it thoroughly made, when is it dare-we-say ‘perfected.’” He has tried to become a master of knowing where and when to stop. I recommend this practice to you in the next two weeks, Virgo. You’ve been doing good work, and will continue to do good work,


By Dan Savage, mail@savagelove.net

I could really use your advice. I recently found my boyfriend’s HIV meds while I was house sitting for him and went into his cupboard for a multivitamin. We’ve been dating for a year and I had assumed he was negative. I’m negative myself and on PrEP and he is undetectable, so I know there is essentially zero risk of me getting infected, but we agreed to some degree of “openness” at the start of the relationship—having threesomes together—and I recently found a guy we’d like to invite over. I’m trying to get over the feeling of betrayal from the fact that my boyfriend hid his status from me for

so long but I’m fine with continuing the relationship knowing his status now. The thing is, he told me that only five people on earth know and his mother, who he talks to almost every day, isn’t one of them. He says being poz has really fucked with his self-esteem and that he has had suicidal thoughts because of his status. Is it unreasonable for me to expect him to disclose his status to guys who join us in bed? What about asking him to share with a therapist or “come out” as poz to his mother? I really love him and just want him to be happy and healthy. —Wannabe Ethical And Supportive Slut

but it’s crucial that you don’t get overly fussy and fastidious as you refine and perhaps even finish your project. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): You’re entering the potentially most playful and frisky and whimsical phase of your astrological cycle. To honor and encourage a full invocation of gleeful fun, I offer you the following thoughts from Tumblr blogger Sparkledog. “I am so tired of being told that I am too old for the things I like. No cartoons. No toys. No fantasy animals. No bright colors. Are adults supposed to live monotonous, bleak lives ? I can be an adult and still love childish things. I can be intelligent and educated and informed and I can love stuffed animals and unicorns. Please stop making me feel bad for loving the things that make me happy.” SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “Nature cannot be ordered about, except by obeying her,” wrote philosopher Francis Bacon (1561–1626). That paradoxical observation could prove to be highly useful for you in the coming weeks. Here are some other variants on the theme: Surrendering will lead to power. Expressing vulnerability will generate strength. A willingness to transform yourself will transform the world around you. The more you’re willing to acknowledge that you have a lot to learn, the smarter you’ll be. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In his book The Lover’s Dictionary, David Levithan advises lovers and would-be lovers to tell each other their very best stories. “Not the day’s petty injustices,” he writes. “Not the glimmer of a seven-eighths-forgotten moment from your past. Not something that somebody said to somebody, who then told it to you.” No, to foster the vibrant health of a love relationship—or any close alliance for that matter—you should consistently exchange your deepest, richest tales. This is always true, of course, but it’s especially true for you right now. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): On Oct. 18, 1867, the United States government completed its purchase of Alaska from Russia. How much did this 586,000acre kingdom cost? Two cents per acre, which in

If you’re worrying about HIV at the moment, WEASS, you’re worrying about the wrong virus. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in New Zealand, you and the boyfriend shouldn’t be inviting men over for threesomes right now. Assuming you do live in New Zealand… I don’t think your boyfriend is morally obligated to disclose that he’s HIV-positive to a casual sex partner, WEASS, but in some states he is legally obligated to disclose that fact. While rarely enforced, these HIV disclosure laws almost always have the opposite of their intended effect. Instead of creating a culture of testing and disclosure, these laws disincentivize getting tested—because someone

today’s money would be about 37 cents. It was a tremendous bargain! I propose that we regard this transaction as a metaphor for what’s possible for you in 2021: the addition of a valuable resource at a reasonable price. (PS: American public opinion about the Alaskan purchase was mostly favorable back then, but a few influential newspapers described it as foolish. Don’t let naysayers like them dissuade you from your smart action.) AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): “My business is circumference,” wrote poet Emily Dickinson in a letter to her mentor. What did she mean by that? “Circumference” was an important word for her. It appeared in 17 of her poems. Critic Rochelle Cecil writes that for Dickinson, circumference referred to a sense of boundlessness radiating out from a center—a place where “one feels completely free, where one can express anything and everything.” According to critic Donna M. Campbell, circumference was Dickinson’s metaphor for ecstasy. When she said, “My business is circumference,” she meant that her calling was to be eternally in quest of awe and sublimity. I propose that you make good use of Dickinson’s circumference in the coming weeks, Aquarius. It’s time to get your mind and heart and soul thoroughly expanded and elevated. PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Should I quote the wisdom of people who have engaged in behavior I consider unethical or immoral? Should I draw inspiration from teachers who at some times in their lives treated others badly? For instance, Pisces-born Ted Geisel, better known as beloved author Dr. Seuss, cheated on his wife while she was sick, ultimately leading to her suicide. Should I therefore banish him from my memory and never mention the good he did in the world? Or should I forgive him of his sins and continue to appreciate him? I don’t have a fixed set of rules about how to decide questions like these. How about you? The coming weeks will be a good time to redefine your relationship with complicated people. ■ Homework: Where in your life do you push too hard? Where don’t you push hard enough? Testify: FreeWillAstrology.com.

who doesn’t know they’re HIV-positive can’t get in trouble for failing to disclose. These laws were passed decades ago, back when contracting HIV was perceived—mostly accurately—as a death sentence. But they don’t reflect what it means to have HIV today or to sleep with someone who has HIV today. Having even unprotected sex now with someone who is HIV-positive and has an undetectable viral load is less risky than having protected sex with someone who hasn’t been tested. Condom or no condom, the HIV-positive guy with an undetectable viral load—undetectable thanks to meds like the ones your boyfriend is taking—can’t infect someone with HIV. Undetectable = untransmissible. But a guy who assumes he’s HIV-negative

JAN. 21, 2021

because he was the last time he got tested or because he’s never been tested? That guy could be HIV-positive and could infect someone with HIV—even if he does use a condom, which could leak or break. (There are lots of other STIs out there we should be using condoms to protect ourselves from, including a nasty strain of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea, but we’re just talking HIV here.) In answer to your question, WEASS, I think it would unreasonable for you to force your boyfriend to disclose his HIV status the person you want to invite over for a threesome—but, again, HIV disclosure laws might require your boyfriend to disclose. Now if the presumably sexually-active, sexually-adventurous gay man you’re thinking about having over to your place in Christchurch isn’t an idiot, WEASS, he’ll know your boyfriend—the guy with the undetectable viral load—presents no threat to him, at least where HIV is concerned. And while you absolutely shouldn’t out your boyfriend, WEASS, you could raise the general subject of sexual safety and see how this guy reacts. If he seems reasonable—particularly if he mentions being on PrEP too—he’s probably not gonna freak out about your boyfriend being HIV-positive for the exact same reason you didn’t: there’s zero chance your boyfriend could infect him with HIV. (We’re both assuming this guy isn’t HIV-positive himself, WEASS, which he might be.) If he seems reasonable you should encourage your boyfriend to disclose to him. Being told it’s no big deal from someone your boyfriend wants to fuck before he fucks him could help your boyfriend feel less insecure about his HIV status. Finally, you can’t order your boyfriend to come out to his mom about being HIV-positive, WEASS, but you might inspire him to. He obviously worries people will judge him or shame for being HIV-positive; that’s one of the reasons he hid it from you—and, yes, he should have disclosed his HIV status to you sooner. He obviously underestimated you: you didn’t reject him when you stumbled over his meds after tearing apart the cupboards in his absence while you were searching for—what was it again? Oh, right: a multivitamin. (Sure.) Anyway, WEASS, tell your boyfriend he’s most likely underestimating his mother in the same way he underestimated you—then let him make his own decisions about who to tell and when. I’m a submissive straight guy who final-

came to is this: it’s both deeply threatening (in an erotic way) for my girlfriend to fuck someone who’s “better” than me and deeply reassuring (in an emotional way) when she chooses to be with me when she could be with a “better” man. —Better Example Than This Erotic Rival

ly—FINALLY—met a woman who is open to my main kinks: bondage and cuckolding. I’m into handcuffs and leg irons, so the bondage part was easy (she didn’t have to learn to do shibari), but the cuckolding part is a lot trickier to realize during a pandemic. She ended a longstanding FWB arrangement with a coworker when we began to get serious a year ago. Her former FWB is a safe choice, emotionally speaking, since there was no romantic interest on either side, and he’s safe where COVID-19 is concerned, since they are in a “pod” at work. (And they’ll both be vaccinated soon!) She keeps saying he’s the perfect bull but he’s not right for me—which is a weird thing for me to say, since I’m not the one who’ll be sleeping with him. I don’t want to sound conceited, but I’m much better looking than he is and I’m also better hung. My cuckold fantasies revolve around my girlfriend fucking a guy who’s hotter than me and better hung than I am. I worked with a therapist for a long time—not to “cure” me of my kinks, but to better understand them. And what I


Something about this guy works for your girlfriend—there’s a reason she keeps bringing him up—and if you want to have a future with this woman and you want cuckolding to be a part of that future, BETTER, then going with someone she’s comfortable with the first time/few times she cucks you is a really good idea. And while he may not be better looking than you or have a bigger dick, BETTER, he’s gotta be “better” than you are in some other objective sense—better educated, makes better money, better at eating pussy, etc. Surely there’s something about him your girlfriend can throw in your face that tweaks your insecurities (when she heads off to fuck him) and meets your need for reassurance (when she comes back to you). And how do you know your dick is bigger than his? Because your girlfriend told you it was. You might want to ask her if she lied about his dick being smaller than yours, BETTER, because that’s definitely the kind of lie women tell new boyfriends about their exes and old FWBs. Given a chance to walk that back, BETTER, your girlfriend very well might—and it might even be true. While we are discussing the social ramifications, etymologies, synonyms, etc., of ejaculate (noun and verb) and orgasm, can I


throw in a request to alter the course of popularity for another word as well? It’s this: “girl.” I cannot stand to see that word used to describe a woman. “I’m seeing this girl…”  Oh, you’re seeing a “girl”? Is she twelve? If an individual is seeing a “girl” and that individual is 30, that is pedophilia. Now, if an individual is seeing a woman, and she happens to be approximately the same age (or older or younger within legal parameters) and there is mutual consent, that’s fine. But if an individual is seeing a “girl,” that isn’t right. —Woman Over Regular Degradation If an individual is seeing a pre-pubescent minor, that’s pedophilia and child rape. If an individual is seeing a pubescent minor, that’s hebephilia and either child rape or statutory rape. If a person is seeing an adult and casually refers to that adult person as a girl, that’s not pedophilia or hebephilia or child rape or statutory rape. I mean, come on. There’s a huge difference between someone affectionately referring to a new partner as a girl/girlfriend—or a boy/boyfriend—and someone, say, dismissively and intentionally infantilizing adult female coworkers or political leaders. Just as I wouldn’t hear “girl’s night out” and assume that meant underage drinking, I wouldn’t assume someone who said they were seeing a girl—or dating a boy—was sleeping with a twelve-year-old child. But that’s just me. mail@savagelove.net Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSavage. savagelovecast.com



JAN. 21, 2021


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Needing some kneading, say 5 Language in which a nutty person might be told “Yer bum’s oot the windae” 10 Hunting store purchase 14 Hook’s henchman 15 Stamp holder 16 Birthday ___ 17 Basic idea 18 Items that are hard to throw away? 20 Remedy 22 Troublemaker of 1-Down 23 Important piece in échecs 24 Money-collecting org. 25 Word included to prevent libel, say 28 Rough write-up 30 Ballet basic 31 Losing tic-tac-toe row 32 Cry of dismay in 5-Across 34 Singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey ___ 1

35 Landed 36 Work suggested by

this puzzle’s circled and shaded squares 41 Strongly advocate 42 -: Abbr. 43 One of the Kennedys 44 Pudding flavor 45 Big name in in-flight internet 46 ___ Nadu (Indian state) 50 America ___, star of TV’s “Ugly Betty” 52 Extinct flightless bird 54 Lead-in to puncture 55 Actress Chaplin 56 Like an unused air mattress 58 That’s gnus to me! 61 Shortcoming 62 Word before rich or talk 63 Rent 64 Swiss Alp next to Lake Lucerne 65 Just OK 66 Small and pointy-eared, perhaps 67 What “exaggerated” is sometimes misspelled with


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Tucson Weekly, Jan. 21, 2021  

Tucson Weekly, Jan. 21, 2021