Organizers of the 1st Annual Marijuana National Policy and Strategy Conference, scheduled for Sept. 23-24 at the Victoria Gardens Cultural Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California, are refusing to let those not on board with their platform attend.

In the past couple of days, conference organizers sent a person they knew to be associated with groups protesting the event a fake email announcing a change in the location of the conference. Then they scanned the names of everyone who bought a ticket; if the scan brought up information that ties the purchaser to a marijuana or drug law reform group, they canceled the ticket and refunded the money.

Yesterday our editor-in-chief, Chris Simunek, was informed that his reservations had been canceled and his registration fee returned.

The conference, sponsored by the National Narcotic Officers Association, California Peace Officers Association, DARE America, Drug Free America Foundation, California Narcotic Officers Association, BB&K Law Firm and other narcotic police officer and related associations, is aimed at devising strategies for deterring the burgeoning political marijuana legalization movement and halting the growing acceptance of medical marijuana.

According to Lanny Swerdlow, Director of the Brownie Mary Democratic Club and one of the organizers of a planned peaceful protest, “This not only shows how paranoid they are, but graphically demonstrates they know just how indefensible their position is. They know the media will be there and they are mortified that we will be there to give the media another side of the story -- the side they are working against.”

Further explaining the protest, Swerdlow said “It staggers the imagination that police agencies are allowed to spend tax payer money supporting this convention where police, while on the taxpayers dime, consort with elected officials and drug war industry businesses to concoct schemes and plans to undermine California’s voter approved Prop. 215 and to use taxpayer funded police resources to interfere in the political process.”

It is up to us to speak out against this injustice. The “Uphold the Law, Protect Our Freedoms, End Reefer Madness Rally” will run from 10am to 2pm on Monday, Sept. 23. It is being held in the Plaza directly in front of the Cultural Center in Victoria Gardens Shopping Center located at 12505 Cultural Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739.

Be there if you can. We will.