Pubdate: Sun, 30 Apr 2000
Source: New York Daily News (NY)
Copyright: 2000 Daily News, L.P.
Page: 26
Contact:  450 W. 33rd St., New York, N.Y. 10001
Author: Thomas Hackett, Daily News Staff Writer
Note: The following websites have information and links to many of the 
Millennium Marijuana March events in about 100 cities worldwide:


The annual Marijuana March--usually a ho-hum, haphazard tradition held the 
first Saturday of May in lower Manhattan -- could well pack some political 
punch this year in reaction the recent surge of NYPD pot busts.

Organizers of the May 6 Millennium Marijuana March -- which will begin at 
the intersection of Broadway and Houston, pass City Hall and end in Battery 
Park -- say the Rev. Al Sharpton and other black leaders are lending their 
support to the event.

The heightened enforcement attention to low-level drug activity, 
particularly marijuana, singles out blacks and Hispanics, march organizers 

The expected presence of the black leaders at a traditionally white, 
middle-class protest should call attention the May Giuliani's recent 
anti-drug initiative Operation Condor -- and in particular the botched 
buy-and-bust that resulted in the death of Patrick Dorismond on March 16.

Cops made nearly 47 times as many marijuana arrests last year (33,471) as 
they did in 1992 (720).

A spokesman for Sharpton said his organization was not yet officially on 
board, and Sharpton had not said he definitely would attend Saturday's event.

But organizers say that even in Sharpton's participation is limited to 
lending moral support to the marchers, it is significant.

"Operation Condor is selective prosecution," said Dana Beal, a founder of 
Cures not Wars, a group working to get marijuana legalized for medical 
purposes. "The criminalization of marijuana was racist in its inception and 
has always been racist in its application."

On the same day that about 10,000 people are expected to march down 
Broadway, thousands more will gather in dozens of cities worldwide, from 
Albuquerque to Atlanta to Adelaide, Australia. Most of the demonstrations 
are expected to be peaceful affairs, with few arrests.

"The police realize we're not a violent organization, that people who come 
to the march -- even though many of them are obviously smoking joints -- 
aren't a danger," said Chris Sanders, a coordinator of the Cannabis 
Coalition in London.

Officers monitoring last year's New York rally vowed zero tolerance of pot 
smoking and arrested 65 demonstrators.

City Hall has argued that more vigilant enforcement of drug laws under 
Mayor Giuliani has reduced all types of crime in recent years. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake