Melissa Etheridge has become a passionate advocate for medical marijuana. The Kansas native used it when she had breast cancer and in recent days loaned her famous voice to the campaign to legalize it in Missouri.
Recreational pot is legal in California, where she lives. But the reality that marijuana is not legal in all 50 states resulted in a mugshot released by TMZ early Saturday.
The Kansas native is in Kansas City this weekend to sing the national anthem at the Chiefs-Steelers game on Sunday.
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According to court documents, TMZ reported, Etheridge’s tour bus was returning to the United States from Canada on Aug. 17 when they were stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in North Dakota.
A drug-sniffing K-9 unit led agents to find marijuana oil onboard and Etheridge was booked for possession of a controlled substance, later pleading guilty, TMZ reported.
The website reported that in an unrelated incident, also in North Dakota, rocker Todd Rundgren was also detained at the border when agents found containers with liquid THC.
Two weeks ago, Etheridge wrote about her experiences with marijuana’s medicinal properties to support New Approach Missouri, a campaign to legalize medical marijuana in the state in 2018.
“Because I am a musician, people often assume that I must indulge in the fast-paced life that often comes with playing on the road. But they would be wrong,” the Leavenworth, Kan. native wrote in a personal endorsement of the movement.
“Coming up in the business in the 1980's, I saw plenty of drugs, but it never really appealed to me. I’m not even much of a drinker.
“But when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, I found that there was one substance that helped me through: Cannabis.”
Friends led her to medical cannabis to handle the effects of chemotherapy, she wrote.
“It worked even better than they said it would. Not only did it treat my nausea better than anything else I tried, it alleviated both my physical and emotional pain,” she wrote. “I continue to use cannabis to treat the lasting gastrointestinal effects of the chemo and to help me get a good night's sleep.
“I grew up in Leavenworth, Kansas, just across the Missouri River from the northern Kansas City suburbs in Platte County. It saddens me when I think about the tens of thousands of patients in Kansas and Missouri who do not enjoy the same safe, legal access to medical cannabis that I did.”
She endorsed both New Approach Missouri and a similar campaign on the other side of the state line, Bleeding Kansas.
“In Missouri, you can place a strong medical cannabis initiative on the ballot next fall and ensure medical cannabis as a constitutional right in the state,” she wrote.
“Kansas does not allow for the initiative process, so I urge all of you in Missouri to take advantage of that opportunity by volunteering to gather petition signatures and contributing to keep the campaign moving forward.”
Etheridge will perform the anthem Sunday at a game dedicated to the NFL’s “Crucial Catch” cancer awareness campaign and where local cancer survivors will be honored.