If Melissa Etheridge were French, she might be one of those parents who let their kids have a glass of wine at the family dinner.
But the Grammy-winning rocker isn’t French so maybe she’s exercising what could be a more American approach to enlightened parental oversight of her children’s substance use.
Etheridge, who has also launched her own line of cannabis products, has revealed in a new interview that she smokes weed with her adult children, Bailey, 20, and son, Beckett, 18 — but in the context of family bonding.
In the interview as part of Yahoo’s Weed and the American Family, Etheridge also said she smokes with her wife, Linda Wallem. She says she’s opening up about what is no doubt a controversial topic in many households because she wants to reduce stigma around marijuana use.
“I have smoked with my older two,” she told Yahoo. “It was funny at first, and then they realized, it’s a very natural, end-of-the-day [thing] … And it brings you much closer. I’d much rather have a smoke with my grown kids than a drink — oh, God, no.”
Etheridge, 55, also says that toking up plays an important role in her marriage.
“Cannabis is the best marital aid,” she added. “When it’s date night … It takes down your inhibition; your sexual desires are enhanced. We take a bath every night and smoke and talk and wind down and sleep a very, very good night sleep — and sleep is extremely important.”
Last year, Etheridge announced she was launching Etheridge Farms,a line of cannabis products for medical patients. This was a few months before California voters approved Proposition 64, making it legal for adults over the age of 21 to use, possess and share cannabis, as well as grow it at home.
Etheridge came to the marijuana party relatively late in her life, telling Billboard that she didn’t become a regular smoker until she was 43. That’s around the time she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “That was when I really started looking at it. The first time I started doing it every day was for medicinal purposes,” she said.
Back then, she said, using weed wasn’t about getting high but about relief. It also helped her to be present with her kids during chemotherapy. She didn’t want to use prescription medications to relieve pain, nausea and other symptoms.
“It was just being to a place where I could communicate with my children, to where I could get up, to where I could eat. It was great medicine,” she said.
Etheridge also has a twin son and daughter, born in 2006, with her ex-partner Tammy Michaels.
Etheridge believes that it’s important to remove the “shame” or “confusion” around cannabis use in order to take the “naughtiness” out of it. That way it won’t be something kids gravitate towards, she said.
“Cannabis is a resource, cannabis is an alternative,” Melissa said. “It’s clear this medicine, that is cannabis helps.”