Leading proponents of marijuana prohibition geared up for a protest against their Southern California conference by falsely claiming to move the event.
As it turns out, the two-day National Marijuana Policy & Strategy Conferenceis indeed took place at Victoria Gardens Cultural Center in Rancho Cucamonga as planned, while a counter-demonstration organized by Americans for Safe Access and the Brownie Mary Democratic Club of Riverside County happened outside.
The protest rattled conference organizers, who allegedly sent the following hysterical email to registrants:
"It will be within a 25-mile radius of Rancho Cucamonga. We have moved the start time to 9:15 to allow for any deviation in your schedule. Our new location is a hotel in the general vicinity; they provide complimentary shuttles to and from Ontario airport. Do not show up to Victoria Gardens - a hostile pot crowd will be there and they have threatened to get themselves arrested. Due to the nature of our peaceful conference, and many children who are registrants, we are forced to make this decision… The drug legalization crowd is well known for being hostile and, at times, outright dangerous. The many videos found on YouTube by pot groups, including the shooting at a Denver pot event earlier this year, is yet more proof of the radicalization of these anti-social individuals who lack common sense, patience and restraint… As we know from research, marijuana causes significant mental problems - and we clearly do not want to be near a crowd of people with mental problems, who exhibit a failure in judgment and propensity for violence."
The conference, scheduled to run from 8 am to 5 pm on Sept 24 and Sept. 25 at a cost of $249 per registrant, boasts a who's who of prohibitionists, including Calvina Fay, David G. Evans and Paul Chabot. The keynote speaker is Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey. Sponsors kicked in $35,000 to pay for the event. They are:
• Platinum - $10K: Chabot Strategies, HighRoad L.A.
• Gold - $5K: Union Station Homeless Services
• Double Silver - $2K: National Narcotics Officers Associations' Coalition
• Silver - $1K: California Peace Officers Association, Best Best & Krieger, Drug Free RC, Inland Valley Dug Free Community Coalition
• Bronze - $500: CNOA, D.A.R.E., NCADD OC, Freestyle Foundation, NPHS, MainStreet Chamber, Fleming's, Partners for Innovative Communities
According to the website, the purpose of the event is "to learn from the success and failures in reducing marijuana use, sales, trafficking, production and related issues, so that an effective Marijuana Policy and Strategy Guide may be produced and shared across America in order to reduce the impact of marijuana and reverse current efforts to legitimize the drug."
Lanny Swerdlow of the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project based in Palm Springs says the email is a ruse. "On Wednesday," he writes, "they clumsily tried twice to throw us off course and into disarray by sending out another fake email purported to be sent to all ticket holders for their NarcoCop conference. The rally is going on exactly as scheduled – no changes or alterations of any kind. Join us this Monday, Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and demand that the police 'Uphold the Law, Protect Our Freedoms and End Their Reefer Madness' at the Plaza in front of the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center at 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739."