Melissa Etheridge set as a keynote speaker at Toronto marijuana conference

Melissa Etheridge
Melissa Etheridge attends the Primary Wave 10th Annual Pre-Grammy Party at The London West Hollywood on February 14, 2016. Jason Kempin/Getty Images for EFG

Melissa Etheridge, one of rock music’s great female icons, was announced Tuesday as a keynote speaker for Canada’s leading cannabis industry business event, O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo.

Etheridge is a cannabis entrepreneur and activist who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Twelve years later, she’s cancer-free and says her battle was made easier by using marijuana.

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“I believe anybody who smokes cannabis is using it medicinally, whether they consider it so or not,” she told Billboard. “If it’s my means of relaxing and unplugging and de-stressing at the end of the day, who’s to say that’s not good medicine? Isn’t that what you do when you take your Ambiens and your Valiums and stuff? It’s the same thing. My stress level and all the things I felt contributed to my cancer 12 years ago, I absolutely treat them every day by smoking cannabis and keeping a balance in my life.”

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The Bring Me Some Water singer is also working in the marijuana business. Her company, Etheridge Farms, will be making cannabis products available for California medical patients.

“I’m right in the process of branding,” she told Billboard. “There’s a balm that’s so good for muscles and arthritis. I have my own smoke, some edibles and some [oil] cartridges. I’m really just entering the market with what I’ve learned in the last 10 years about cannabis… in wanting to bring a product to America that is focused on health and on wellness and how important this plant is and used to be in our medicinal system.”

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The O’Cannabiz conference takes place April 21 – 23 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.

The three-day event will gather patients, physicians, licensed producers and industry vanguards to explore the future of cannabis and the “budding” market in Canada. Everything from seed to sale, understanding regulations and industry standards and best practices, both medicinal and recreational, will be offered among more than 40 workshops, seminars, keynote address and exhibitors.

Other keynote speakers confirmed for the event include Bruce Linton, Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Canopy Growth Corporation, and Maya Elisabeth, CEO of Whoopi and Maya, a brand of medical cannabis products co-founded by Whoopi Goldberg and geared towards menstruating women.

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Registration for O’Cannabiz is now open.

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