Melissa Etheridge’s Cannabis Mugshot Is Amazing

Published on October 16, 2017 · Last updated July 28, 2020
In this April 12, 2016 photo, Melissa Etheridge poses for a portrait in Hidden Hills, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

Melissa Etheridge, singer, songwriter, Grammy-winner, and cannabis advocate has blessed the world with what may be the greatest mug shot of all time, after a cannabis possession arrest at the US-Canada border.

(Police Handout)

Etheridge smiled for the photo after her tour bus was stopped and searched with K9 units as she crossed into the US from Canada at the North Dakota border on August 17. Agents discovered cannabis oil aboard the tour bus and arrested her. According to reports, she was booked for the possession of a controlled substance and pleaded not guilty. Although the musician has a medical marijuana authorization from her home state of California, North Dakota does not allow reciprocity for out-of-state medical marijuana patients.

Just weeks later, at the same border crossing, ’70s rocker Todd Rundgren was passing through on Sept. 9 and was hit with a similar charge. Although the K9 units missed it, US Customs and Border Patrol agents found two vapes and containers with THC liquid inside. He was booked for possession of drugs and paraphernalia.

North Dakota legalized the use and possession of marijuana for medical purposes last November, but the program is not operational yet. An arrest for cannabis possession can land you in jail for up to 30 days with a maximum fine of $1,500.

“I continue to use cannabis to treat the lasting gastrointestinal effects of the chemo and to help me get a good night's sleep.”

For her part, Etheridge has been vocal about her cannabis use in recent years, using it as part of breast cancer treatment and even acknowledging that she prefers to consume cannabis rather than alcohol with her adult kids. She’s also entered the cannabis industry as an entrepreneur, offering a line of cannabis-infused wine through her company, Etheridge Farms. She’s featured in the documentary “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed,” a film focusing on female entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry set to be released later this winter.

Etheridge is also an outspoken proponent of legalization, having recently visited Missouri to endorse a medical cannabis proposal and share her experience using cannabis to treat the side effects of chemotherapy. “Not only did it treat my nausea better than anything else I tried, it alleviated both my physical and emotional pain. I continue to use cannabis to treat the lasting gastrointestinal effects of the chemo and to help me get a good night’s sleep,” she said. “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.”

Beaming from ear-to-ear in her surprisingly cheerful mug shot, Etheridge reminds us of a cool, activist aunt. Her friendly, unabashed grin makes it seem like she doesn’t regret a thing.

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Lisa Rough
Lisa Rough
Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.
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