Music star Melissa Etheridge will deliver a keynote speech at this month’s California Cannabis Business Conference. The marijuana advocate is expected to deliver a speech on the role of artists in promoting cannabis and her advocacy for marijuana’s potential as a therapeutic medicine.
It’s something Etheridge, who has launched her own line of marijuana products, knows from firsthand experience.
Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. During the chemotherapy treatments that followed, she discovered the therapeutic qualities of marijuana. That included “instant relief from nausea and you have an appetite,” Etheridge told CBS News earlier this year.
The Grammy Award-winning musician now is an advocate for marijuana legalization. She’s felt the impact of the War on Drugs, too, getting arrested in 2017 for cannabis possession in North Dakota near the Canadian border by federal authorities.
But that hasn’t stopped her from continuing her marijuana advocacy.
California Cannabis Business Conference
Etheridge will deliver a keynote address at the California Cannabis Business Conference, which will be held Oct. 22-23 in Anaheim. The conference also features Lori Ajax, the chief of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, who will deliver the opening remarks.
Lou Correa and Dana Rohrabacher, both congressmen from California, will also deliver a keynote address entitled, “So Goes California, So Goes the Nation.”
In her address, Etheridge plans to focus on how artists can help people better understand the experience and therapeutic possibilities of cannabis, she told Marijuana Moment. She said of artists, “We get inspiration—which means “in spirit”—from nothing and make something of it. So, it’s easy for us to understand plant medicine. Why shouldn’t we be the ones to help bridge that gap?”
She also said that cannabis has influenced her work. She said it has led to her to more depth in her soul-searching and spiritual journey, and also “changed my understanding of parenting.”
Canada and Celebrities
Etheridge now runs Etheridge Farms, which sits on 47 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. Her products include marijuana-infused gingersnap cookies and other baked goods. There is also a lavender cream infused with cannabis that Etheridge says can help those who suffer from arthritis and inflammation.
“I wanted to be in the front of this because I feel there’s not a representation for middle-aged women in the cannabis industry,” Etheridge told CBS.
In doing so, she has joined a growing list of celebrities who have entered the marijuana business. They include Tommy Chong, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and Whoopi Goldberg.
As Canada has legalized adult-use marijuana nationwide this month, Etheridge has said in interviews that the U.S. is missing out on a chance to lead the world in the marijuana industry. She likened it to when Japan started making better cars, leaving the U.S. auto industry scrambling to keep up.
She also said marijuana is a way for people to relax and unwind in a healthy way.
“Life is hard enough,” she told CBS. “Let’s take it easy on ourselves. We don’t have to go through life clutching the steering wheel. We can relax a little bit.”