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It's funny. 18 pages and it's clear what the vocal majority want the rules to say. James even agrees with them - sort of - though it's not obvious to me he though of the ramifications of his inclusion of "reach" on the list of properties lost when improvising.
And yet, the rules still say what they say.
18 pages of talking about things that aren't the rules didn't change cannot into can. 18 pages of justifying an interpretation you want which is different from what the rules say. 18 pages of stuff like arguing a weapon isn't a weapon, it's a bunch of atoms. 18 pages of picking on Malachi because he wouldn't let his pet topic go. 18 pages of arguing black is white.
In this game, specific rules override general rules, and since the reach property tells you you're not allowed to make adjacent attacks, that's much more specific than the general improvised weapons rules. The ones that are for non-weapons in the first place.
It's a stretch, and it's always been a stretch. Logical or not, flavorful or not, the rules have spoken and the answer remains sealed with the single word cannot.