Melissa Etheridge says she feels like a “rock star now” that she’s been arrested for marijuana possession. “I’m in good company,” the singer tells Variety, referring to others like Paul McCartney, Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson who’ve been busted for pot over the years.
Etheridge was sleeping on her tour bus when it was pulled over by Customs and Border Protection agents in the middle of the night on Aug. 17 in Portal, North Dakota. She’d performed at the River Cree Resort & Casino in Enoch, Alberta on Aug. 16.
Etheridge knew this wasn’t a typical stop when she saw K-9 dogs ready to enter the bus. “I’ve crossed many, many borders in my life, hundreds of times,” she says. “I’ve never had a search like that.”
As the dogs sniffed the luggage and the bus, the agents “went through every little thing,” Etheridge recalls. Eventually, one dog poked its nose into her bag. “I had some cannabis oil, actually a vape pen, in my toiletry case and they found it. They didn’t get much, it was a small amount.”
Clad in her pajamas, Etheridge was taken into one of the rooms at the border for questioning. “I was fingerprinted,” she says. “The mug shot was taken with a cell phone! I was like, ‘Oh my God, I hope this never gets out!’” At the same time, she wanted “to send love with the photo. That’s why I’m smiling.”
But she wasn’t happy at all about the incident and partially blames herself. “I’m mad at myself,” Etheridge admits. “I was careless. It’s an international border, I should’ve known better. But I hope this can move the issue forward, shed some light on how many people use cannabis as a medicine.”
Etheridge has been treating herself with cannabis ever since she