BotaniQ announces ‘Influencer’ finalists in Power 10 cannabis awards

Nominations are now closed for BotaniQ’s “Power 10 of the Canadian Cannabis Industry 2018.” We received more than 1,000 nominations, and we are announcing the top three finalists in all 10 categories this month. Winners are set to be announced at the end of September.
Today, we are announcing the top three finalists in the “Influencer” category. Congratulations to Bethany Rae, Terry Lake and Justin Trudeau!
BotaniQ columnist Bethany Rae, of Flower & Freedom. (Photo: MaryBeth Lafferty)

Bethany Rae

Bethany Rae is the founder of Flower & Freedom, an education platform and community, empowering people to explore cannabis as part of an active lifestyle.

Originally from Australia, Bethany is a cannabis education advocate and international speaker. By removing stereotypes and simplifying the science Bethany makes understanding cannabis in legalization a lot less intimidating.

“Prior to entering the cannabis industry I had been searching in my career for something I could feel passionate about, for a business idea that could have a positive social impact,” said Rae. “Then my life intersected with cannabis. When I rediscovered cannabis as an adult and started to educate myself about healthy consumption I was struck by the fact that the way I consumed cannabis heavily in my teenage years might have been a very different story had cannabis prohibition and the ‘just say no’ policy never happened.”

Rae said she was inspired to show what healthy life with cannabis can look like after experiencing judgement and negative stereotypes while exploring cannabis for her own health and wellness.

“I didn’t feel comfortable with the way cannabis culture and consumption was portrayed in the media so I had my ‘if not me then who’ moment when I realized that through Flower & Freedom I might empower other people to come and share their cannabis story and be a voice that encourages people to take on a basic cannabis knowledge, an education that I believe we should of got in school,” Rae said.

“It started on my personal Instagram but now I share my story alongside other cannabis consumers at,” she added. “Our mission is to empower people to explore cannabis as part of a healthy lifestyle. Through experience-based conversations I believe we can guide people to make good decisions about how they consume cannabis in legalization. By having honest and relevant conversations on safe and responsible consumption, perhaps there will be a trickle down in education to young people faced with choices I had in my youth.”

Rae said it’s an honour to be nominated especially since she didn’t ask any friends to do so.

“It’s an excellent reminder and reinforcement to continue being a voice for people exploring healthy cannabis consumption and a comfort that all this effort is being noticed and making a difference,” she remarked.

Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau is Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister.

Along the campaign trail, Trudeau vowed to legalize and regulate access to marijuana, saying Canada’s current system of prohibition doesn’t work. And once elected, he enacted legislation to do just that.

Legislative changes to legalize recreational cannabis under his watch has involved enacting stronger laws to punish more severely those who provide it to minors, those who operate a motor vehicle while under its influence, and those who sell it outside of the new regulatory framework.

This past June, Trudeau announced Oct. 17 would be legalization day.

Terry Lake

Terry Lake says it’s “a real honour” to be nominated for BotaniQ’s “Influencer” award.

“I know there are some tremendous people out there driving policy and public opinion in the cannabis space and believe me, not long ago, I did not imagine I would be one of them,” said Lake.

“The lights came on for me in 2016 when I travelled to New York with my amazing daughter Stephanie who was presenting on behalf of the Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS on the impact of heavy cannabis use on HIV therapy at the Cannabis Science and Policy Summit,” he recalled. “As B.C.’s Health Minister at the time, I had surprisingly little knowledge of cannabis as public policy around the plant fell entirely to the federal government.”

Lake said he quickly became fascinated with the complex science of cannabis and his lifelong love of physiology and biochemistry was reawakened.

“As a policy wonk I also recognized the challenge Canada faced in becoming the first G7 country to legalize the adult, non-medical use of a substance that had been stigmatized by prohibition for nearly one hundred years,” he said. “When HEXO co-founder Adam Miron, a friend from earlier Kamloops’ days, called me to see if I was interested in joining the company, I jumped at the chance.”

Today he serves as Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for HEXO, and utilizes his past experience in political science and communications to advocate for responsible growing, production and use of cannabis that he feels “moves our company and the industry forward in a very positive way.”

“After one year I have learned a great deal from the many, many smart and interesting people in the Canadian cannabis space and am thankful to be able to contribute in a small way to ensuring we have a sustainable and responsible industry into the future,” said Lake.

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Click here to read more about the BotaniQ Power 10 awards.