Over the summer, Melissa Etheridge was busted for possessing marijuana while traveling from Canada back to the United States via North Dakota. The singer’s tour bus was stopped by Customs Border Patrol in August. Drug-sniffing canines indicated that drugs were on board, and agents found marijuana oil, TMZ reports.
Etheridge, a cancer survivor, and California resident told authorities that she used the drug for pain management. Marijuana is legal in California but not in North Dakota. The singer was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, and she pleaded not guilty.
Etheridge, 56, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and started using marijuana as an alternative to prescription drugs while she was undergoing chemotherapy, reports PEOPLE. She talked about using marijuana during an interview with Yahoo! earlier this year, explaining that she smoked with her wife, Linda Wallem, and her two older children, Bailey, 20, and Beckett, 18. She noted: “It’s a very natural, end-of-the-day [thing]. And it brings you much closer. I’d much rather have a smoke with my grown kids than a drink — oh, God, no.”
The singer has been smoking marijuana occasionally for recreational purposes since her 20s. Her friend David Crosby advised she start using it for medicinal purposes. He is the biological father of her two older children. She does not smoke it in front of her two younger kids and treats it like medicine. But she also continues to use it for recreation.
She explained, “There are certain strains [of weed] — you get a nice indica on a Friday night when it’s date night, and it takes down your inhibitions. Your sexual desires are enhanced. I recommend this for relationships.”
In August, she launched Etheridge Farms, which sells cannabis-related items. She told Forbes: “My hope and my plan is to present to the world a brand that they can understand medicinally first. Are you a woman going through breast cancer? Well, come to Ethridge Farms, come to this brand to understand that we have researched, we have collected data. We like to say we have studied cannabis to where we know this strain and this dosage, will help with your appetite when you’re on chemo. This will help you with sleeping. All the things that the pharmaceutical companies have tried to make drugs for we have alternatives in the cannabis line.”