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California’s ‘weed nuns’ on a mission to heal with cannabis

The “Sisters of the Valley,” California’s self-ordained “weed nuns,” are on a mission to heal and empower women with their cannabis products.

Joint-smoking nuns

Based near the town of Merced in California’s Central Valley, which produces over half of the fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States, the Sisters of the Valley grow and harvest their own plants – cannabis plants.


No halo

Despite the moniker, the nuns don’t belong to any order of the Catholic Church. “We’re against religion, so we’re not a religion. We consider ourselves Beguine revivalists, and we reach back to pre-Christian practices,” says Sister Kate, who founded the sisterhood in 2014.


From ‘Sister Occupy’ to ‘weed nun’

Sister Kate adopted the nun persona after she took part in an Occupy Wall Street protest in 2011 dressed as a Catholic nun, a look that led her to be known by protesters as “Sister Occupy.”


The group’s Holy Trinity is marijuana

Sister Freya ladles cannabidiol salve made from hemp. CBD, the abbreviation for cannabidiol, has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. The nuns explain that hemp, a strain of marijuana, has very low levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in the plant.


For the sake of well-being

Members turn the hemp into cannabis-based balms and ointments, which they say have the power to improve health and well-being. Sister Kate reports that the group had roughly $750,000 (€700,000) in sales last year, the most since it started selling products in January 2015.


Most Catholics tolerate the nuns

More than two dozen US states have legalized some form of marijuana for medical or recreational use, but the drug remains illegal at the federal level. California legalized recreational use of marijuana in November 2016. “We’ve gotten a few hate calls but, by and far, the Catholics understand what we’re doing,” Sister Kate says.


Critics of marijuana legalization won’t stop the nuns

President Donald Trump’s administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime critic of marijuana legalization, have worried some in the country’s nascent legalized marijuana industry. But the “weed nuns” say the new administration has strengthened their resolve.


Salvation in Canada

“The thing Trump has done for us is put a fire under our butts to get launched in another country,” says Sister Kate. “Our response to Trump is Canada.” The group makes online sales to Canada, and hopes to launch an operation there in two months.

Author: Nadine Berghausen




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10.07.2017 | 12:05