Canada’s Foremost Marijuana Proponent Dies of Cancer

Michelle Rainey, one of Canada’s most active and recognisable advocates, has died of cancer at the age of 39.

Ms. Rainey was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease as a teenager, and in the early 1990s began smoking marijuana to relieve the symptoms in place of a daily regimen of pharmaceutical drugs, saying that the marijuana did not trigger the same debilitating side effects as the pills. In her last years she fought melanoma and lymphatic cancer.

Throughout her life, Ms. Rainey was a passionate promoter of the plant and its therapeutic properties. She had her own show on YouTube an distributed cannabis education packages to those in need. She was also a director for the magazine Treating Yourself.

Ms. Rainey also helped organize Marc Emery’s marijuana-based business empire. The two met in 1998 and opened up a bookstore that also served as a pot headquarters in Vancouver. The two also established the British Colombia Marijuana Party. In the 2001 provincial elections, theirs was the first party in BC history to field candidates in every riding during their first campaign (79 in total). Ms. Rainey also ran as a candidate, touring the province in what she called ‘the Cannabus’—US president Ronald Reagan’s old campaign tour bus.

Mr. Emery said of her death: “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.”