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Melissa Etheridge Heartbroken Over Backlash That She Smokes Weed with Her Adult Kids: ‘It’s Not Something I Do a Lot’

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Melissa Etheridge is responding to criticism she’s received since revealing she has smoked marijuana with her two adult children.

“You know, my kids grew up in Southern California. It’s not a crazy thing. It was a decision, it’s not something I do a lot at all; hardly! I want people to understand that this is not ‘Hey kids, let’s go get high.’ That wasn’t what it is at all. It was an experience that was kind of family and sacred,” the singer, 55, told Access Hollywood. “And so … having the whole world kind of judge it off of one sentence, it breaks my heart a little bit.”

Etheridge first opened up about her weed use in the new Yahoo project Cannabis & the American Family, and PEOPLE premiered the video clip Monday. The Grammy winner explained that she began using medical marijuana as a holistic alternative to pharmaceuticals when she was undergoing chemotherapy after her 2004 breast cancer diagnosis.

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During the initial interview, she added that she has smoked with her wife, Linda Wallem, and two older kids: Bailey, 20, and Beckett, 18. “It’s a very natural, end-of-the-day [thing],” she told Yahoo. “And it brings you much closer. I’d much rather have a smoke with my grown kids than a drink — oh, God, no.”

Since her quotes made the rounds online, Etheridge said she’s received flak for her parenting style and would hope the attention would be directed to a more important issue.

“Beyond judging my mothering, I wish the discussion could be about people that are spending time in prison, whose lives have completely been wrecked for [drug] possession,” she told Access Hollywood.