Melissa Etheridge and Todd Rundgren arrested for drugs returning from Canada


Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: two rock stars were arrested by customs agents for drugs. We’ve been seeing these headlines for almost as long as there have been rockers. What’s mildly amusing is the two people involved are old enough to know better – 90’s songstress Melissa Etheridge and 70’s titan Todd Rundgren. Melissa was arrested in August at the Canadian border in North Dakota. A little less than a month later, Rundgren, also touring, was arrested at the same North Dakota border. I would add dramatic wording and background music but it was for the marijuana oil Melissa uses for pain management and for Rundgren, it was vape pens – not the most hard core rock n’ roll story.

Melissa Etheridge didn’t pass the K-9 sniffing test … Todd Rundgren did, but they both got arrested for drugs on the U.S.-Canadian border.

Melissa and Todd were both pinched — on separate dates — in North Dakota after their tour buses were stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. According to docs, Melissa’s bus was returning to the U.S. on August 17. After a K-9 unit detected possible drugs, agents found marijuana oil.

Cops say Melissa said she uses it to manage pain from cancer. That’s legal in Cali, where she lives, but in N.D. it’s still a no-no. She was booked for possession of a controlled substance … took a super pleasant mug shot, and pleaded not guilty.

As for 1970s rocker Rundgren — Customs nabbed him on September 9 when his bus was stopped. The dogs missed it, but agents found 2 vapes and containers with liquid THC.

[From TMZ]

I think the catalyst for this story is that Melissa’s mugshot was just released. However, I’m not sure what angle TMZ is pushing here. It could be a story about Melissa’s advocacy for marijuana as medicinal, especially given how perky she looks in her mugshot. Or maybe it’s just a straight up rockstars using drugs story, which is not fair because Melissa didn’t actually use drugs until she was convinced cannabis could help her with the pain of chemotherapy. Perhaps North Dakota is looking to position themselves as the police enforcement center.

I’m a little more interested in the logistics of medical marijuana. Melissa holds a prescription, but only some states recognize out-of-state marijuana prescriptions. I don’t use marijuana recreationally or medicinally and know virtually nothing about the industry. But I have heard from plenty of people that it is a Godsend for pain. I know Melissa’s use has expanded past just treatment but I don’t really care about that, since it was in an oil, it doesn’t sounds like she was trying to get away with anything. Surely there has to be a way for people to travel with medicine? I don’t think her arrest will amount to anything more than a fine and a warning, but it’s an interesting question. And she will be able to add this to her platform to destigmatize marijuana use so that works in her favor. As for Rundgren, I’ll bet the eye roll that accompanied his arrest was epic. I wonder if his recent comments on #45 had anything to do with the thoroughness of his search?


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40 Responses to “Melissa Etheridge and Todd Rundgren arrested for drugs returning from Canada”

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  1. Purplehazeforever says:

    I suffer from chronic migraines, woke up this morning from one. It’s probably why I’m such a jerk most days, lol. But one of the reasons why I haven’t tried CBD oils yet is the whole legality of it. I live in NJ and I’m waiting until the election. I know medicinal marijuana is legalized but Christie has done some crazy stuff to that I don’t even bother. I’m pretty sure marijuana will be legalized and I’m holding out until next year.

    • Giddy says:

      I have migraines also, and wish marijuana was legal in my state. But I’m in Texas, so it won’t be happening anytime soon. Those of you in states where medical marijuana are legal are so lucky. Even the AARP has come out in favor of it. Living in Texas hasn’t stopped me from using, I just worry about it. (-;

    • Oh-Dear says:

      I considered it too – I am in Canada, so I do have access. I spoke to 2 friends who are doctors and have patients on MM. They told me I could try it if I wanted but that it isn’t as helpful for migraines as people hope. I decided not to try it because of the stories they shared about the effects (vicious vomiting being the worst that lands people in urgent care) some people experience. They both said the best treatment from a research-based standpoint is Botox, which I do get. We focus on the side and back of my head, and down my neck. It has cut the frequency down a ton, and I take magnesium in high doses when I do get one (I usually end up with one 4-5 day migraine a month, down from an average of 20 days per month).

    • kimbers says:

      some cbd is from hemp plants and can me ordered legally. I find it ridiculous that cannabis is illegal in many states, especially with the current crisis on opioids. states with legalized cannabis have 24% less deaths from opioids. it’s medically founded that cannabis can help a large about of ailments thru cbd oils alone. cbd does not have the THC that gives a high. it’s just pharm and conservatives fear mongering. like when i was little in school they said,” don’t eat organic! it has bugs because they don’t use pesticides!” well we did eat organic and there were never bugs.

      as for rec cannabis. I love it. I’m a sativa gal who hates couch lock and munchies ,so i buy the happy top shelf, and it’s still cheaper than I don’t drink bc i don’t need to(or want to). it’s a nice way of life.

    • NeoCleo says:

      Marijuana is wonderful for pain and sleep issues. I wish the hold outs in this country would pull their head out of their collective @ss and allow people to use this amazing natural resource. I use it in conjunction with opiate-based drugs and it has allowed me to cut down on the amount and frequency with which I’ve used the pharmaceuticals.

      Now if there was a way to create a strain of MJ that doesn’t bring on the munchies!

  2. Charlie says:

    Because It’s still illegal at the federal level you can’t carry marijuana across state borders. And you can’t share any prescription drugs. These programs mean so much to those it benefits (like me). It upsets me to hear that someone like Melissa is being cavalier about restrictions on medical marijuana. There are still plenty of people- looking at you Jeff Sessions – who will see this as part of the ‘abuse’ of these programs and use it toshut them down.

  3. manda says:

    Ugh, no sympathy for Melissa Etheridge at all. She’ll probably try to use this as an excuse to pay less child support to her children’s mother. She’s awful

  4. Felicia says:

    I’ll bet they were both coming back from Vancouver, the home of BC bud and legalized medical marijuana. Lol

    • Handwoven says:


      • Felicia says:

        Why “No”? There are legal dispensaries all over the place in Vancouver. And as far as concert towns go in Canada, especially the West, Vancouver is #1. And frankly, the pot grown in BC is head and shoulders above what you get pretty much anywhere else. All of those draft dodgers who came to Canada during the Vietnam War had to a) earn a living and b) clearly had more than a few people amongst them who understood selective breeding.

        Yes the border crossing is near Winnipeg. But I’ll bet they hit Vancouver first and stocked up there.

      • The Original G says:

        Uh, North Dakota is near Vancouver? Pot is not legal in Vancouver, but it will be across Canada next July 1.

        I didn’t think I could read so many stereotypes in one comment. Thank goodness, we have Americans to tell us how to grow pot.

      • Angela82 says:

        @The Original G: I’m very confused. I was in Vancouver in August and they had dispensaries everywhere. I know it isn’t legal over all of Canada yet, but I was under the impression it definitely was in BC. Unless somehow they can have dispensaries and still not be legal lol? And it was recreational not just for medicinal users. The only thing that was different than Washington State laws was that they didn’t have ATMs in the shop for whatever legal reason.

      • The Original G says:

        There are civic business licenses in Vancouver for some dispensaries and there no prosecution when licensed this way. They’re looking the other way. National legal weed, July 1 , 2018.

      • Angela82 says:

        The Original G: Ah ok interesting. Thanks for the info. 🙂

      • Felicia says:

        Well, that started as a throwaway joke comment, simply because of the reputation of BC bud. However, since some people seem to have taken a great deal of offense, I suppose I should respond.

        1) legalized MEDICAL marijuana. I did not say recreational. Two different things. Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2000.
        2) Feel free to Google about the Vietnam era draft dodgers and pot growing in BC. It’s not exactly a secret. No one said that Canada “needed” these people to show us, but their circumstances were definitely a factor in it actually becoming the industry that it is.
        3) As my above comment makes clear, I’m perfectly well aware that ND isn’t near Vancouver. Please note the above “Winnipeg”. That said, a tour bus implies a tour. During which said bus transports the entertainers from one city to the next, generally in some sort of logical order. East to west or West to east. I have no idea if she played in Vancouver or not, it’s simply probably the easiest place in the country to buy pot if you want to. As I said, a throwaway joke comment… hence the lol at the end.
        4) Vancouver has licensed pot dispensaries, something they started in 2015. As far as I’m aware, they are the only city to have done so, I know for sure that’s not the case in neighboring Alberta. According to this article: , there are 10 licensed dispensaries in Vancouver. The rest are not operating within, as they put it, “the legal framework”.

    • K-Peace says:

      No, they weren’t coming from Vancouver.–The article clearly states that they were crossing the border in North Dakota, which is nowhere near Vancouver.

    • raincoaster says:

      It’s only somewhat legalized. North Dakota borders on Manitoba, so it’s about three thousand miles away from Vansterdam.

  5. Snowflake says:

    Medical marijuana is legal now in FL. I wish recreational use was. I would love to try a vape pen, different options than smoking a blunt. It feels harsh on my lungs. Probably just in my head, but I would rather not smoke it. Or whatever you call it. So lucky of you live in a state that allows it.

    I always wonder how that works with workman’s comp. They always send you off for a drug test if you have an accident at work. Anybody know? Do they make exceptions for marijuana use?

    • Charlie says:

      Snowflake – even with a medical use card your employer can fire you. Until legalization is federal these things won’t change. In most states dispensaries pay all their expenses, including taxes and payroll in cash because banks won’t touch ‘drug money’ for fear of federal laws and asset seizures.

      • kimbers says:

        your employer cannot fire you unless you work for the federal government, or your employer has contracts with them.[oregon] if you were obviously high while it happend, or had cannabis on you, the. you would probably be terminated for bringing into the building instead of leaving it in your car.

        a man was fired for smelling like cannabis and testing positive. he had a medical prescription, but the termination was reversed because of the medical license and he was not high at work-just smelled like weed. this was a few years back.

    • Angela82 says:

      Have they opened any medicinal dispensaries? I ask b/c I am a Maryland resident and although they passed medicinal use a while ago and doctors can technically write prescriptions, there still aren’t any dispensaries. Sometimes living here is frustrating.

  6. jferber says:

    I love and support Melissa and Todd 100%.

  7. DavidBowie says:

    A 70’s titan? That guy? I went to the Yestival a few months ago and he was the second act and I had no idea who he was.

    • Malificent says:

      Rundgren was known more as a very influential producer. He has some hits of his own, but a lot of his own music was a bit too experimental to make it on the charts.

    • MI6 says:

      Well then you are missing out. The man is a brilliant musician. A Wizard and a True Star.

  8. Chaine says:

    The headline made me think they were arrested together at the same time… would have been a much better story 🙂

  9. minx says:

    She’s old enough to be a little smarter.

  10. adastraperaspera says:

    I love this headline! I have friends who live in Seattle and use medibles for ailments. One friend even used the oils as pain meds after her hysterectomy–said they worked great.

  11. Electric Tuba says:

    Let us have the THC! Such puritanical horse shit. Boooo

  12. nikzilla says:

    Completely ridiculous. MJ use in all forms should be legal.

  13. Oh-Dear says:

    I’m in Canada and heard an American Border Security Agent speak about the impact of Canadian legalization on access to the US a little while ago. If a Canadian admits to marijuana use in their past or present life, they can be denied entry to the US for life (you need to apply for a special exemption if you do want to travel there and may or may not receive it). Obviously, the politicians and border agents aren’t going to recommend you lie to get in, but the news story came about because a politician or lawyer (I can’t remember) warned Canadians of this and was asked by a reporter if he recommended they lie about their past use. His answer was vague but he did say “I can’t recommend people lie, but…”.
    I imagine there will be a lot more arrests and misunderstanding of the impact of legalization in Canada.

    • Felicia says:

      Maybe we should ask the Dutch how they handle that.
      “I don’t do illegal drugs” might be a good response.

  14. BearcatLawyer says:

    Civil asset forfeiture. That’s why these CBP officers are stopping and searching tour buses. Legally speaking, the vehicles participated in the commission of the crimes by transporting the narcotics into the U.S. These arrests also enable CBP to seize cash or other items from the occupants and argue that they were connected to the crimes and thus are subject to forfeiture.

    • bcgirl says:

      it was USBP in North Dakota, ” returning from Canada”
      not CBP.

    • Felicia says:

      Try Googling “LEAKED ICE GUIDE OFFERS UNPRECEDENTED VIEW OF AGENCY’S ASSET FORFEITURE TACTICS” on a website called The Intercept. Apparently they managed to get their hands on a copy of the Asset Forfeiture Handbook. Quite the eyeopener. From the article:

      In listing the six essential considerations for seizure of real estate, ICE instructs agents to focus on assessing the property’s value. “Determining whether or not to take a real property requires information from various sources,” reads the handbook. “Factors that AIRG [special agents] should consider from the outset are: (1) the assessed value, (2) known liens, (3) the probable equity, (4) possible environmental problems, (5) the existence of sufficient probable cause for seizure, and (6) the ability to overcome possible defenses to the forfeiture.”

      In a subsequent passage, the handbook notes that, in certain situations, law enforcement considerations can in fact supersede the motive of financial gain. “If there is not enough net equity to justify seizure and forfeiture, is there an overriding law enforcement reason to justify the seizure (e.g., a vehicle with a smuggling compartment, a firearm in the possession of a felon)?” the document asks. “In these cases, the value of the item may be of secondary importance.”

  15. Escaped Convent says:

    Damn. We’ve finally arrived at that cold day in hell, haven’t we? The day that rock stars are arrested for drugs like this, and in their fifties and sixties. I long for the days when Paul McCartney was banned from Japan forever, because of weed. And the grandfather of drug arrests, the Venerable Keith Richard, getting banned from everywhere. And Marianne Faithfull being part of a drug raid during which she was supposed to have hidden a chocolate bar someplace private, unless that was some other rock groupie queen and was questionable anyway. I think some horny old magistrate just had a Mars bar fantasy and stuck it onto the Rolling Stones.

    That was the golden age of rock stars getting arrested for drugs. Everyone really is older now.

  16. raincoaster says:

    Melissa’s excuse is pretty good, but it’s a lie. She’s ten years out from having cancer. She’s no longer on chemo. She’s not using marijuana to moderate the pain of chemo or the nausea. Cancer survivor here. Unless she’s got a new cancer diagnosis, she’s using the pot for something other than coping with cancer.