The Unfinished Work of Tracy Curley

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From the Editor

Hi there,

I never met Tracy Curley, though I very much wish I had.

It wasn’t until her untimely death in 2019 (she was only in her mid-40s) that I started to learn more about the longtime cannabis activist. And the more I learned, the more I felt the cannabis legalization movement owed to her as a person who had devoted her life to ending injustice.

Were it not for her efforts, it is entirely possible that Canada would not have a legal cannabis regime today. Even after legalization, she was incensed by the way recreational rules took priority over medical requirements (still the case today) and by the flagrant sexism that persisted across the new sector (also still the case today). 

This issue of The Weekly Chronicle is part of a broader effort to continue the work Tracy was forced to leave unfinished. Even though we never met, after speaking with those who knew her best, I am certain she would have wanted that work to continue.

Yours in pursuit of progress,


Volume 1: Issue 8

The Unfinished Work of Tracy Curley

by Jameson Berkow

Canadians might not be familiar with the name Tracy Curley, but they have her to thank for legal cannabis in their country. The longtime activist passed away in 2019 believing the legalization process was only half-done. This is her story.

Tracy Curley was still fighting for cannabis justice when she passed away last year – suddenly and unexpectedly – at just 46 years old.

The longtime patients’ rights advocate “had been type 1 diabetic since she was six years old,” her mother, Marilyn Lane, explained during a June 2019 conversation in Tracy’s suburban Toronto childhood home. Three weeks after Tracy died, Marilyn served homemade strawberry-chocolate jelly on fresh-baked rolls as she discussed her daughter’s legacy as one of the cannabis legalization movement’s earliest and most passionate leaders.

“I figured between the [Prince Edward Island] flag on the lawn and the fairy wings on the porch, you’d be able to tell which house it was,” she said with a quiet chuckle.

Born in PEI, Marilyn left the island before Tracy was a teenager. She met John, who would become Marilyn’s new husband and Tracy’s stepfather, in Nova Scotia before, in the mid-1980s, the family settled in the modest red-brick bungalow where Marilyn and John still live today.

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