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Melissa Etheridge: From LGBT to O'Cannabiz

By Nelson Branco, 24 Hrs

Melissa Etheridge is embracing the pot business the same way she did her sexuality. GETTY

Melissa Etheridge is embracing the pot business the same way she did her sexuality. GETTY

Toronto - 

There's a lot happening this weekend - from Record Store Day to all of our major sports teams playing to Earth Day - but Toronto will also be rockin' thanks to breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge speaking at O'Cannabiz.

The first annual marijuana forum is a three-day event which gathers patients, medics, licensed producers and experts to explore the future of weed and the budding market in Canada. The Oscar and Grammy winner - who is also a producer of newly legalized cannabis products called Etheridge Farms - will punctuate her visit by performing at the Danforth Music Hall at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

24 Hours lit up with Etheridge to talk pot politics, if the world is changing fast enough and cannabis wine!

FROM GAY TO WEED ACTIVIST

There are many similarities between the LGBT movement, marriage equality and cannabis legalization. It really comes down to people coming out to friends, family and co-workers as a smoker and proclaiming proudly, 'I'm a good person, I have a job but I'm not into hard drugs.'Like opening up about your sexuality, one by one, we can change people's hearts and minds.

EXTINGUISHING STIGMAS

There's been this brainwashing all over the world to demonize the herb culture. America's drug war is one of the worst things we've done in a century from prohibition to now. I grew up with 'marijuana is bad'- and it's a lie. Once you get past that, you experience euphoria, which is what the government doesn't want you to feel; they don't want you to be consciously aware as a public.

BLUNT EVOLUTION

In 1989, I was in Germany when the Berlin Wall came down. It was a huge eye-opener for me because I witnessed, in that moment, how people can change the world. That's when I knew we could win the fight for LGBT rights. So I'm not surprised how much change has happened in the world - even in the past 10 years. I've seen much change in my lifetime and I hope it continues.

HIGH ON THE FUTURE

The plan is to start writing a new album at the end of the year.

There's so much material out there to write and sing about! It'll be a new project but I'm still trying to figure it out. I'm thinking I'll be touring at the end of the year. I get inspired by cannabis and music, which go hand in hand. Cannabis enhances music and deepens it into our soul and emotional life. I want a Melissa Etheridge dispensary where you can smoke, write and listen to music at the same time.

PENDULUM SWING

I've heard about Toronto's pot raids. Listen, there is always a big pushback right before the giant leap forward.

Fortunately, our freedom fighters in Canada - and we have them in California too - are strong, loud, organized and not giving up. You can't blame the law enforcement because they are confused: they need retraining and re-education.

CANNABIS VINO

It's been around since biblical times. My brand, No Label, is wine infused with cannabis.

Unlike edibles, we don't heat the cannabis so the THC isn't released. This way, you only get all the positive elements from the plant. It's a full-body high without too much of the euphoria. One glass of cannabis wine will give you the effect of three glasses so you drink less but you feel relaxed and it doesn't have the psychotropic effects. I wish I could send you some but I can't fly from the U.S. to Canada with my cannabis! We need to work on our border laws so people can travel with their marijuana medicine.

AMERICAN RESISTANCE

Our U.S. President [Donald Trump] appointed someone woefully misinformed and inadequate for this job: Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

You couldn't get further away with an appointment like Sessions in terms of where the country is moving. It's scary. Trump, himself? I don't think he cares about marijuana legalization. It's the lions in the den that we're worried about.