Cancer kills pot activist

Source: Maple Ridge • Pitt Meadows Times

Copyright: Maple Ridge Times



By: Alfie Lau, Postmedia Network

Published: October 26, 2010

Make sure medical growops follow rules

Rainey had lived with Crohn's disease since she was a teenager and in the last years of her life struggled against melanoma and lymphatic cancer.

Prince of Pot Marc Emery's ex–business partner and medical marijuana advocate, Michelle Rainey, has died from cancer.

Rainey had lived with Crohn's disease since she was a teenager and in the last years of her life struggled against melanoma and lymphatic cancer.

Her husband, Jef Tek, and mother, Emilie, were at her side, each holding a hand, when she died Wednesday night at her home in Maple Ridge in spite of last–ditch, high–dosage experimental cannabis treatment.

Rainey, 39, was the organizational force behind Emery's pot–based business empire. However, their relationship deteriorated and they split after being hit with a 2005 U.S. drug–and–money–laundering indictment.

Rainey produced her own show on YouTube titled Michelle's Medicinal Marijuana, distributing cannabis education packages to those who were in need. She was also a director for Treating Yourself magazine.

Rainey and Emery met in 1998 while he was living on the Sunshine Coast and she was working in a Gibsons bank. She quit work to become his partner. Together they established the B.C. Marijuana Party and opened a bookstore–cum–pot headquarters.

In the 2001 provincial election, the party fielded candidates in every riding – 79 in all. Rainey ran in Peace River South, operating out of The Alaskan Hotel in Dawson Creek.

She managed to get U.S. President Ronald Reagan's old campaign tour bus, nicknamed it the "Cannabus," and toured the province with then–party leader Brian Taylor.

The party captured more than 50,000 votes – 3.2 per cent – all funded by Emery's multi–million–dollar–a–year catalogue seed business.

Their economic success and celebrity, however, attracted attention of the American drug warriors and they were busted.

She and a third co–accused, Greg Williams, pleaded guilty in April and were sentenced to two years probation.

Last month, Emery began serving a five–year prison term in the U.S. and he commented on Rainey's passing via an email from jail sent to Vancouver Sun columnist Ian Mulgrew: "Michelle needs to be recognized as one of the greatest activists this movement has ever had... Michelle may have literally given her life to the movement, and when people think about what they can do for freedom in their lifetime, Michelle's life is a shining example of how much is possible, even under great duress."

In the early 1990s, Rainey began smoking marijuana in place of a daily regimen of pharmaceutical drugs she was taking to relieve the symptoms of Crohn's. She said cannabis did not trigger the same debilitating side effects as the pills.

After meeting Emery, she went public about her use and in recent years became Canada's most recognizable medical pot crusader.

Her advocacy brought her into contact with numerous high–profile Canadians and she relished talking about rubbing shoulders with celebrities such as Romeo Dallaire, Henry Morgentaler, and Wade Davis.

Media mogul Moses Znaimer flew to Vancouver to say goodbye. Her pal Dan Aykroyd telephoned his last so–long earlier in the day Wednesday.

"I want people to keep working, keep working for change – too many sick people are still having difficulty getting their medication," Rainey recently said. "That's what I want as my legacy – change."

Sadly, she did not live to see the historic marijuana legalization vote that will occur in California on Nov. 2. She predicted, though: "Change is going to come."