There are only a few people who decide to break from the daily race to stop at Mark Anthony’s booth, which is often seen in the streets of downtown Chico. His shirts and pins that promote the legalization of marijuana might turn off most people, but Anthony is anything but a stereotype. He’s a 41-year-old “grassroots political activist” who came here from London when he was 18. Anthony then traveled the country, and started selling his pins in Los Angeles six years ago, eventually making his way up to Chico. He asks for small donations for his pins ($1-$5), which he buys from a company in Sacramento. He uses the money to buy more pins and merchandise to help citizens recognize the possibility of legalization on the November ballot. Along with his political activism, Anthony operates a website, Celestialtruth.com. The site “addresses the leading global issues facing our planet, and offers feasible solutions for them.” Anthony will be leaving for Spain for a few months but will return in November to help make sure the initiative passes.
What motivated you to start selling these pins?
I thought it would be great to participate on a grassroots level. I wanted to make sure to contribute in any way to an issue that is important to me. To me this issue is more about a freedom of choice, which is an important issue to address.
Why do you believe marijuana should be legalized?
There are numerous reasons it should be. There are health benefits, and the derivatives from hemp are exponential. As I said before, it is a question of freedom of choice. If someone can enjoy a beer, a glass of wine, or a shot of whiskey, then they should be eligible to enjoy marijuana.
Do you think there is a chance marijuana will be legalized in November?
I think it has every chance in the world. I don’t think it will just be a spark in the United States, but I think it could spark something worldwide.
What would you say to someone who argued that legalization would be detrimental to our society?
I would ask them to take a look at our society now, and ask if it is really the cause of our society’s detriment. It is a passive herb, and more are responsive to legalization than you think. I have people of all ages and backgrounds stop and buy my pins. If one took a real look at our society, they will recognize it’s not a detriment.
What would be the first thing you’d do if weed became legalized?
In all due respect, I don’t smoke it. But I would smile and give it a gesture of acknowledgement. I will enjoy seeing its integration into society without a fear of legal consequences.