The passing of Olivia Newton-John leaves a void in marijuana advocacy

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The singer and actor was a long-time cannabis advocate as she fought cancer

Olivia Newton-John, one of the biggest pop stars of the ’70s and ’80s, died Monday at age 73 at her Southern California ranch. Her husband, John Easterling, posted the sad news on Newton’s Facebook page. She died from complications related to breast cancer. She is remembered in the cannabis community for her courageous efforts in advocating for medical marijuana.

“Dame Olivia Newton-John (73) passed away peacefully at her ranch in Southern California this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” said her husband’s statement beginning the week. “We ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy during this very difficult time.”

Breast cancer that Newton-John, best known for her role in the 1978 musical Grease, had long been suffering from was reported to be the cause of her death. In 1992, after the release of Back to Basics: The Essential Collection 1971-1992, Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her recovery, she became an advocate for several cancer charities.

A vocal advocate for medical cannabis, in May 2017, Newton-John revealed that her breast cancer had returned and had metastasized to her lower back and spread to her bones, progressing to stage IV. However, she continued to record music and released the single ‘Window in the Wall’ in 2021.

The British-Australian actress asked her country’s authorities to allow the use of marijuana for medicinal and palliative use, as in California, where she lived. Her daughter has a cannabis farm in Oregon.

It was her husband, the founder of Amazon Herb Company, who convinced her to give the plant a chance. She credited the remedies he made from the cannabis grown on their California farm for her physical and mental well-being.

“It’s really helped me with the pain, with sleep, with anxiety, and, I believe, with inflammation,” she explained. She also used cannabis to replace morphine after fracturing her sacrum in 2018, saying, “I’m totally off painkillers, I’m totally off morphine, and I attribute that to the cannabis.”