Photo by Chelsea Kemp

The Sober Evangelical Right-Wing Christian Fighting for Your Right to Medical Marijuana

Natasha Raey makes launching and running a series of successful, socially conscious, bicoastal businesses look effortless. But then again, there’s no one quite like Raey.

The 35-year-old was part of the original team that founded the cannabis community Lift, but abstains from cannabis herself: four years sober, she inspires others with her story of overcoming an addiction to prescription pills and alcohol. She’s an evangelical Christian, but is launching a line of cannabis-infused lubes and sex toys in May. She describes herself as a “hard-nosed Conservative,” yet defends the long-serving marijuana activists who are being pushed out by profiteering executives.

The newest venture for the Surrey native, who holds an MBA in Healthcare, is as self-proclaimed “Boss Babe” of her clinic Cadence (named after her cat, a male Manx). The Toronto-based walk-in champions women’s health and family medicine with a staff of doctors well-versed in the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana. At an inconspicuous table tucked in the back of the clinic, Raey talked about how her diverse passions for medical marijuana, women’s empowerment, and healthcare have found a home-base in Cadence.

I think I am a bit of a nomad. I love to be in different places. For a while I thought that I wanted to settle down and do the family thing, or maybe I was lead to believe that in my last relationship. When I was out of it, I was like, that’s not who I am. That’s not even who I wanted to be.

I think I was just told that was who I was supposed to be. I was in a fairly abusive relationship for longer than a decade. That starts to fester inside of you, and you start to self-medicate. For me I was self-medicating with alcohol and pills. The pills lasted longer than the alcohol did, but I’ve been sober for four years.

Now I am dating an amazing person who has a similar schedule and life to me. I think it’s about finding those people who I fit into their life and they fit into mine.

The goal with Cadence is a few things. We are very cannabis friendly and we provide education and also prescriptions for people who have shown they could use cannabis to help with their ailments.

We really do believe in wellness at our clinics, so it’s not just about treating the sick. We want to start to emphasize aesthetics. So Botox and fillers. Not everyone agrees that is a part of wellness, but I believe if you feel like you look good it really does affect how you go through life. We are also looking to expand the brand into Vancouver.

The one flaw that I am seeing with legalization is we are really pushing rec right now but the medical side of the system is on the backburner. It is my hope that the government makes medical a stream that helps patients.

I have been in this industry for a long time and there are people who have been in cannabis who should not be pushed out (by financial executives). If you hear of a cannabis company that is going public, I can guarantee all of their shells came from ex-mining companies.

People go where the money is and I don’t have an issue. I love money too. But it needs to be an open market. I think the government doesn’t need to have its grubby hands all over this. Governments need to be serving their people and not trying to sell cannabis.

Visit Cadence Health Centre at 200 Spadina Ave. or