On April 20, while the NORMListas enjoyed balmy Pacific breezes in San Francisco, New York City played host to a gritty bit of urban agitprop against the drug war. In a unique action, the DRUG WAR! Race and Party saw dozens of bicycle couriers compete in a race across Manhattan, vying to be the first to deliver the dope at various sites across the city and bail friends out of jail. After the day's exertions, some 400 people gathered in the Lunatarium in Brooklyn for a bash to end the drug war, only to feel it first hand as security staff at the club ejected pot smoker after pot smoker.

Despite the hassles at the club, event organizer Valerie Vande Panne called the event a tremendous success. "We wanted to raise awareness of the drug war in different communities, and I think we did that," she told DRCNet. "We provided a lot of people with information, and now they are thinking about the drug war in ways they hadn't before," she said. "And this was the most ethnically diverse drug war event I've ever attended. We planted seeds in a lot of New York City communities."

About 45 bike messengers met at Tompkins Square Park at 4:20pm and received packages of fake marijuana, cocaine, LSD, crack and "happy pills" to be delivered to media production companies, private clubs and the bathroom of a punk rock music store. The bikers zoomed off on their missions, stopping by the police lock-up at 100 Center Street to "bail out" friends and delivering their fake drugs before proceeding to the finish line. The winner, Mike Macca of Adelaide, Australia, took home the prize bike messenger bag after the first five finishers, perhaps suffering from short-term memory loss, neglected the final checkpoint on the race.

"Adelaide has the best, most liberal weed laws in Australia," Macca told drugwar.com, which has a detailed account of the event including photographs (http://www.drugwar.com/pdrugrace.shtm). "They're much better about weed at home than are authorities here in the US, and people are much less paranoid."

The race and party will benefit the newly-formed Drug War Awareness Project, a NY-based organization dedicated to using art and education to raise awareness of drug war harms. "In 1988, Congress passed a law saying we would be drug-free by 1995," said Vande Panne. "Now, it's 2002 and the drugs are still here and so are all the harms from drug prohibition. By replicating the daily reality of drug dealing in this city, we show how the drug war has failed. But this is just the beginning."

People interested in the Drug War Awareness Project can contact Vande Panne at valerievandepanne@yahoo.com.

-- END --
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Issue #234, 4/26/02 Editorial: Cocaine Legalization | California Medical Marijuana Movement Awaits Federal Offensive, Plots Strategy | Member of British Parliament Calls for Legalization of Cocaine | Amnesty International USA Approves Resolution to Examine Link Between Drug War and Human Rights Abuses | NORML Conference Report: Ready to Take It to a Higher Level | Three US Medical Marijuana Refugees Detained in British Colombia | Newsbrief: Colombian Rebels Seize Pro-Legalization Governor | Newsbrief: Man Without Guns or Drugs Killed By Long Island Cops on Marijuana Raid | Newsbrief: Bicycle Courier Race Shows NYC Day in the Life in the Drug War | Newsbrief: Oregon Medical Marijuana Doctor Suspended, Fined, Put on Probation | Newsbrief: No Room at the Jail for Indianapolis Marijuana Possessors | Newsbrief: Britain's New Scientist Slams Ecstasy Alarmists | Alerts: HEA, Bolivia, DEA Hemp Ban, SuperBowl Ad, Ecstasy Legislation, Mandatory Minimums, Medical Marijuana | The Reformer's Calendar
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