, Arizona's medical marijuana bill, was losing by less than one percent of the vote margin. But the advocates and proponents who gathered at the downtown "rock and jock" restaurant behind US Airways Center were prepared for passage of medical pot by a landslide. You could tell by all the budding businesspeople there, handing out free T-shirts for would-be local dispensaries and an upcoming Arizona medical marijuana magazine.
Cooper'stown's spacious patio was decorated with red, white, and blue balloons and "Yes! On Prop 203" signs. There was a buffet table featuring sliced meat on a platter and a circular dish of carrots, cucumbers, and broccoli, with a dollop of dressing in the center. There were also plastic bottles of bubbles favors on some tables. Everybody seemed in a great mood at the beginning of the night. By the end, a lot of people were nervous.
Contrary to some peoples' expectations,
the pro-Prop 203 gathering at Cooper'stown wasn't full of hippies, deadbeats, and stoners
. Well, they were there, too, but the majority of the hundred or so people mingling and wringing their hands in front of the big screen TVs were dressed in nice suits and business casual dresses.
Members of the Phoenix branch of NORML and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project were of course in attendance, and so was a group called Arizona Patients Association (azpatients.com). A stout fellow in a burgundy polo shirt said they were a medical dispensary, and handed me a T-shirt with an image of a big bud on it, glowing with the words "Purple Haze."
It was my second pro-Prop 203 swag T-shirt that day. Earlier, a group calling itself the "Weed Party" dropped off a T-shirt at my office depicting Sheriff Joe Arpaio smoking a pipe with a green pot leaf in the background and the words "Prop 203."
Later, when I met Nancy from the local chapter of NORML, she gave me one of the black "Yes! On Prop 203" T-shirts they'd been handing out all day. Later that night, I talked to a guy who was handing out free T-shirts that read The Green Leaf: Arizona's Medical Marijuana Magazine. He also had a (very sharp) prototype of the magazine, with vivid glossy color pictures of cannabis leaves.
By 10 p.m., people were still hopeful Prop 203 will pass, but discouraged that the vote had been so close. On my way into the bathroom at Cooper'stown, I ran into two women discussing the vote at the sink. "This is a fucked up state, if this doesn't pass," said a 30-something redhead in a black and white dress.
"I was hoping to see somebody smoking pot here, but nobody has," she continues. "Smoke the vote!"
"It needs to pass," says an attractive young black woman. "I'm ready for my change. 'Cause nothing's changed. You know what we need to do? We need to shit on the federal government to get things to change. Just shit on 'em!"
Most people had shuffled out of Cooper'stown by midnight, not knowing the final results. Most of the precincts had reported on Prop 203, and it was losing by a .06 margin. But Pima County had not yet completely reported, and there are tons of absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted. There's still a chance Prop 203 can pass.
And that could be reason for another party. Or a bunch more free shirts.
Medical marijuana supporters talk to a local news TV station.