Marc Emery’s US Federal Prison blog #17: Letter to Jodie

Michelle and Marc, April 20th 2005Michelle and Marc, April 20th 2005Dear Jodie: I was saddened to hear the tragic news that Michelle Rainey is possibly just weeks away from dying from her melanoma and lymphatic cancer, which has now reached critical proportions throughout her body. She’s only 39. Melanoma is such a vicious cancer, and cancer has been terrible on her brother, killing him young, and affecting others in her family. Considering Michelle battled Crohn’s Disease since she was a teenager, it’s a bitter blow for her, this life of suffering she’s had.

Michelle was my #1 partner in so many of my great triumphs, which I hope she regards as her great triumphs too. Considering the considerable pain her health has given her, she was heroic in so many ways, in so many campaigns that helped so many and represented the movement with class and clout.

With Matthew Johnson, Michelle and I ran the legendary and historic full-slate election campaign of 79 BC Marijuana Party candidates in the 2001 BC general election. You had to be there to believe it: in the campaign HQ, gathering all the candidates, getting the 40 signatures in each riding to qualify, having Richard Nixon’s old campaign bus tour the province with BCMP leader Brian Taylor (now Mayor of Grand Forks) on board. We nicknamed that old bus the “Cannabus”, and that campaign was when you got into politics, Jodie, going to your very first rally in Kamloops the day that bus came by Riverside Park.

That campaign, with our 54,000 votes, 3.5% of the total cast, would never have been possible without Michelle. When we didn’t have a candidate way up north in Peace River South, Michelle volunteered to be the candidate and went up there to Tumbler Ridge and Dawson Creek, getting signatures at The Alaskan Hotel in Dawson Creek. You know how Charles, the owner of that cool old museum of a hotel, is always so nice to us there, Jodie? That’s because Michelle smoothed the way for us in that community. Michelle was a great campaign manager with Matthew, she was like Mother Teresa, Houdini, and Vince Lombardi all rolled into one: cajoling, guiding, and making impossible things happen in the last play of the game for that campaign.

Michelle was an all-inclusive mother, household manager, and business partner, and while both of us attended to our own spousal relationships, we were a powerful and dynamic duo six years from 1999-2005, the greatest period of activism Canada had seen in our movement. Michelle lived with me pretty well from 1999 at the house on 9th Ave. on the Sunshine Coast to January 2003 at the apartment on Nicola in Vancouver, over three years, and worked from sunrise to late every night making sure I looked great and presentable every day, keeping my house clean, all the employees paid, the seeds out on time, the producers paid and happy, the media fully informed, Pot-TV running smoothly, and Richard Cowan (who lived with us on the Sunshine Coast for over a year) taken care of – it’s amazing, all the incredible accomplishments she got done.

Michelle was my great team mate at the 2001 and 2003 IDEACITY in Toronto where I spoke about our incredible work to end prohibition and save the world. The 2003 IDEACITY is where I announced, for the first time, on stage, that I was going to smoke out the Toronto Police Station the next day as the first demonstration of what became the wildly successful Summer of Legalization Tour, proving that cannabis possession laws did not exist at that time. Michelle made sure she introduced me to everyone of importance there and indeed, many of the speakers said they thought our work was important. Romeo Dallaire, Henry Morgentaler, Wade Davis, Dianne Francis, Jaymie Matthews, and so many other great Canadians complimented Michelle and I on our great determination to end the suffering caused by prohibition.

Marc and Michelle, 2005Marc and Michelle, 2005The greatest celebration of cannabis I have ever experienced or ever heard of in the annals of cannabis culture were Michelle’s fabulous Toker’s Bowls of 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, hosted by Cannabis Culture Magazine. There has simply never been any presentation honouring the cannabis culture as classy, considerate, cannabinoid, warm, and loving, as Michelle gave love to every attendee for the whole glorious four-day affair. There were the boat trips, the bus trips (with the ever helpful Reverend Herb as the driver!), the 20-25 kinds of incredible pot for each judge, the nightly parties, rented restaurants, the entertainment, the prizes, the bubblehash, and the gracious and thoughtful Michelle making everyone ever so comfortable and welcomed. And Michelle had to work so hard to earn the money to cover the losses that each Tokers’ Bowl had. They were the greatest parties our culture ever experienced, but they didn’t make money, and Michelle had to work months to pull them off.

We had the greatest cannabis seed business ever known, that revolutionized the world, because Michelle, known fondly as Denmother, put love and care into every order. A medical cannabis user herself, struggling with Crohn’s, she fully appreciated how our seeds were helping thousands of people. I certainly gave away millions of dollars to all those great and good causes, like the 2003 Canadian Supreme Court challenge to legalize marijuana ($85,000), the 1999 class-action suit of the US federal government in Philadelphia to bring back the compassionate use program of medical marijuana ($28,000), the 2000 Canadian Marijuana Party election campaign($22,000), the 2001 BC Marijuana Party campaign ($152,000), the Iboga Therapy House treatment facility for hard-drug addicts ($205,000), the Worldwide Global Marijuana Marches of 1999-2005 ($35,000 each of those 7 years), ballot initiatives in Colorado in 2000 ($15,000) and Arizona ($10,000) – all of those expensive projects and hundreds more which was paid for by mine and Michelle’s hard work.

Michelle did what virtually no other human being could do or did, except her and I. She was an engine for great change in the world, committing money, her health, and her whole soul into this great movement that is forever in debt to her – just as I am in debt to her, for everything she has done for me and our cause. The whole movement, but especially the Canadian movement, may never know how much of our progress in the last decade is attributable to Michelle’s perseverance in the face of great pain, stress and financial pressure. Everyday we had tremendous demands on us for monies we had committed to activism, to our suppliers, to our many employees. Every day we knew we risked a run-in with the law, and all these combined pressures certainly took their toll on her.

Michelle is dealing with this critical juncture in her life with modesty and privacy, but before it’s too late, 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.

I wish her a miracle, as she certainly deserves one. I salute her as my great comrade in arms who brought honour, passion, and achievement to our movement, and I can confidently say that the lives of thousands of people are and were forever improved by Michelle being there for them, and for me.

Marc Emery
Marc Emery

Marc Emery is a Canadian cannabis activist, entrepreneur, and politician. Known to his fans as the Prince of Pot, Emery has been a notable advocate of international cannabis policy reform for decades. Marc is the founding publisher of Cannabis Culture and Pot TV.



  1. Rafael on

    Hi Mark,
    Saw for the 1st. time your amazing story on local (Israeli) cable: Documentary Channel.
    Mesmerized by your story.
    Trying to purchase DVD or download? no success. Can you help?
    Among many things I did in my 60+ yrs. was travel to countries that were hash producers and buying at the source!
    Mazar I Sharif Afghanistan June 1978! Total civil war! Busted at the border Herat w/1.5 kg. but worse..along with my U.S. pass. they found a hidden Israeli pass. and that with my camera gear, decided I was a spy!
    After many weeks, discovered by U.S. Ambassador Andrew Dobbs in Kabul.
    Together with Israeli Mossad, I got my freedom after paying $5000.
    WALKED 2 km. to the Iranian border and once safe, asked God to destroy Afghanistan. Imagine my surprise on 9.11. And with the U.S. invasion, thought it was about to happen. little did they know that these people are unbeatable.
    In 1980’s met Billy Hayes of Midnight Express in L.A. Recently I saw him on Nat.Geo “Banged Up Abroad” with the so called “real” story. Bunch of bullshit.
    My last trips were to Kethama in the Rif Mtns in 1999. 5 times had 1st shake produced in front of me approx. 800gr. pure hashish($1 per gr.) 400gr. each shoe and homeward bound thru Zurich to Tel-Aviv
    Have been growing my own since 1996 out and indoor. Born with a green thumb esp. for cannabis.
    Needless to say, I have since 1970 more than 30 busts for commercial quantities, but NEVER prison time.
    Then too since 1973 have 7 International busts. D.E.A, Interpol, MI5 or 6 ,
    Israeli Shin Bet, and….Israeli Mossad. Tried to lure me in as undercover agent. Yes sure, grabbed the chance but they had me figured out and knew I would take advantage. Got me! saved by the skin of my??.
    2007, after argument with a neighbor, busted by the blue&white.Israeli version of swine!
    A “Higher Power” has obviously been intervening on my behalf and in 1993 got the message.
    Bill W. and I are great friends. Twelve Steps have been my savior and guide for 18 years.
    If you have access to internet, My friend and sponsor and mentor who will soon be coming back to Israel in April.

    Would like to find a way of airing your film to people I know here. It can make a difference I do believe.
    Also Mark, anything I can do to ease your time?
    Only too glad to help.
    Peace, Friendship & Shalom,

  2. ´kaxero-,loko on

    es una pena mi pesame a la fanilia tenemos que cambiar esta fachocracia opresora de plantas y luchar por la normalizacion del cannabis .Libertad para Marc Emery.
    en españa navarra estamos enla labor de crear el banco compasivo cannabico navarro pelearemos por ti guapa rubia tu lucha no sera en vano
    la naturaleza se impondra inundemos el mundo de cannabis para que los retrogados se ahogen en thc
    buenos humnos y libertad para marc
    Iban mugica

  3. Nick on

    Thank you so much Michelle.

  4. Catherine on

    I met Michelle and her husband Jeff many years ago, always bright and bubbly I never knew the medical problems that she faced. She was truly an amazing women. Her and Jeff were like bookends and really when I saw one I saw the other, truly great partners, you could always see they were so in love.

    Michelle you will be truly missed by everyone that you touched, rest in peace my friend….


  5. walksbeauty on

    This is so moving. Being relatively new as an Medical Marijuana activist I can only dream of the wonderful events Michelle created and all the good she has done for the movement. She inspires me as I grow in my zeal for the medicine we all deserve to have. Lighting a candle, sending prayers for comfort, peace and Grace to her and her loved ones.

  6. Daniel van Heest on

    Dear Marc, you wrote quote unquote “she was so heroic in so many ways” if i am not mistaken she is now still very heroic and alive and will remain heroic forever!! Yours, Dantheman.

  7. Anonymous on

    The American Medical Association is doing it’s best to keep this under raps, but the Gerson Therapy Diet is currently the best way to treat AND cure cancer, even when people have little time left, Mark if you read this I hope you look into the Gerson Therapy because it is our Medical System that is very powerful and doesn’t want to see weed legal due to the vast amount of drugs it would replace (along with US police and many other players). I hope you look into this and help in the fight to make this world a better place. Thank you

  8. Liz Goode on

    Although I’ve only recently been blessed with knowing Michelle, I am grateful for every moment of beautiful energy and love that she’s shared with me. Such a gorgeous, warm and funny woman, I’ve looked forward to every meeting and I really hope that she makes it back to us again. I don’t want to let her go.

    No matter what, I know that her sacrifices, selflessness and infecting animation will continue to live on both through the continued impact of her work and the inspiration she gives to the next generation of strong, effective and graceful female activists. I love you Michelle.

  9. hempenheritage on

    So wonderfully written Mr Marc. Everything you spoke about shows her spirit and we will see more of the differences made because of her in the our small space in the world. We may loose her, but never forget her!!!

  10. Dr Dog on

    I heard Michelle was sick last week, thinking about you dear… Michelle has more courage than most will ever know, and I am proud to call her a friend.

  11. Jereme C on

    As a person suffering from Crohn’s disease I send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Michelle. When I meet and hear about people who also suffer from Crohn’s and related diseases and complications, it causes me to consider my own situation and I become pretty depressed. This is one of the situations where Marijuana helps me. It is the only thing that I can count on to lift me out of my darkness. She is an inspiration to keep fighting to my last day on this planet whenever that may be. May her fight not be in veign and provide us with inspiration and strength to fight this battle.

  12. Chris Lawson the Pot Poet on

    Michelle, thank you!
    BIG HUG. Feel the love!
    My heart is with you.

  13. freeballer on

    I had heard a bit back it (cancer) had come back, she looked curageous and so full of life on her last video upload. I’m sorry to hear she’s taken a turn for the worse but I wish for a miracle. I had known for some time she’d been a big part of cannabis culture but not to the extent detailed in this article. I’m sure alot of people are praying and hoping for her health to improve and that we will not lose such a compassionate caring person.

    Our thoughts are with you

  14. Anonymous on

    Blessings and prayers to you Michelle. You are sweet and generous.

  15. Macassa420 on

    Marc Emery is a hero to me. He sacrificed himself to keep Michelle and Marijuana Man out of jail.I am trying my best in my city to shame my Progesive Conservitive MP for what justice minister Rob Nicholson did to Marc.
    I,m writing letters, getting involved ,and attending as many protests as i can.I am so fed up with my government and lawforcement. The Police Chiefs of Canada are trying anything to keep marijuana illegal to save their losey jobs.I been smoking marijuana for 35 years every day and i feel great. Its ciggarettes that used to make me so sick along with alcohol.This government dosn,t give a crap about medical marijuana users or our health.
    Michelle. I never met you but thanks so much for everything you have done for us, and i,m praying for you. God bless you Michelle.

  16. Ken Jackson on

    I first met Michelle at CC when she was behind the counter and helped me on some books re growing for medicinal (since I have PTSD.) She advised me of MMAR qualifications of which I did and set me up to get the paperwork started. I have been dealing with Drs. with little success over the last 30 years and she gave me that ‘ray of sunshine I needed’ by pointing me in the right direction. She probably saved my life. I can never thank her enough except to say that – You made my life so much bearable. Bless You. Heal Her.

  17. Queen of Peace on

    Sending Positive vibes to Michelle what an inspiration she is to women all over the world, she has given back in so many ways more than people will ever know, my heart goes out to her family as they face this challenge in their life, i will pray for a positive outcome i want her to know she is in all our hearts right now when she really needs the LOVE, so sending her tons of Peace Love and Joy you are a beautiful Lady

    Queen of Peace
    Vancouver BC

  18. Anonymous on

    I knew Michelle had Chron’s but I had no idea that she had been stricken with cancer. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Michelle. She always took great care of me when I was working for POT TV and CC and was my guide and hostess on my many trips to Canada.

    One of my fondest memories of her is at a Canucks hockey game which we both attended with Marc. Being from the South I know extremely little about hockey. More of a football fan, myself. Anyway, Marc asked Michelle to explain the rules of the game to me and she said.

    “You hit the fucking puck with the fucking stick and try to get it past the fucking goalie!”

    It was great. Evident that such was the goal….but I love a smart ass all the same.

    Here’s oping for a miracle for her.

    I love you Michelle

    Loretta Nall in Alabama

  19. Anonymous on

    Oh, this is so sad.

    I had heard that Michelle was sick, but I didn’t know what was wrong and I had no idea it was so severe.
    I know that one of the reasons Marc accepted a guilty plea was to help save Michelle from full prosecution. That was an amazingly brave thing to do, and I know it must’ve been so hard for Michelle to see him do it. But if she had gone to prison, she surely would’ve died there, and as much as it hurts to have Marc behind bars, it’s good to know that he was able to let her live the rest of her days in freedom.