Melissa Etheridge has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of possessing cannabis.
The Grammy Award-winner struck a plea deal to avoid jail time following an incident in August when she was busted by U.S. Customs and Border Control in North Dakota for having cannabis oil in her tour bus.
Under the proposed order, Etheridge will pay a fine of $750 and serve six months of unsupervised probation. If she meets the conditions within six months, the charge will be dismissed.
The ‘Come To My Window’ singer has long been a vocal cannabis advocate.
In an interview with Variety following her arrest, Etheridge said she felt “like a rock star now.” She said getting arrested at the U.S.-Canada border for cannabis possession put her “in good company”, referring to stars like Paul McCartney, Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson.
In a mug shot obtained by TMZ at the time of Etheridge’s arrest, she can be seen sporting a giant grin.
“The mug shot was taken with a cell phone! I was like, ‘Oh my God, I hope this never gets out’,” said Etheridge, adding that at the same time, she wanted “to send love with the photo. That’s why I’m smiling.”
Etheridge admitted that while she “should have known better” than to attempt to cross an international border with cannabis, she hoped the incident could “move the issue forward [and] shed some light on how many people use cannabis as a medicine.”
While North Dakota became the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana last November, the state hasn’t launched its program yet. Etheridge lives in California, where her cannabis card allows her to make legal purchases across the state.
Etheridge has stood behind cannabis legalization ever since she used the drug during chemotherapy after her 2004 breast cancer diagnosis.
“I'm a Southern California granola kind of gal, and I have a very healthy belief in natural things. And so when the doctor looked at me and said, ‘Okay, you're gonna have this pain...here's five pills and they all have their side effects,’ I said, ‘No thank you. I will smoke this one plant’,” Etheridge told Civilized in an exclusive interview in September 2015.
“It provided relief from pain, from depression. It gave me an appetite. It kept me awake and aware for my children while I was going through this. I just cannot imagine how anyone goes through chemo without it.”