A strange group of women calling themselves the Sisters of the Valley are on a mission to heal and empower women with their cannabis products. The California's self-ordained "weed nuns," are based near the town of Merced in the Central Valley.
Merced produces over half of the fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States. However, the Sisters of the Valley grow and harvest their own cannabis plants. Surprisingly, the sisterhood emphasizes that its seven members, despite the name, do not belong to any order of the Catholic Church.
A statement released by 58-year-old Sister Kate, who founded the sisterhood in 2014 claims that the women are against religion. They also consider themselves Beguine revivalists and that they reach back to pre-Christian practices.
The bizarre group claims that its Holy Trinity is the marijuana plant, specifically hemp, a strain of marijuana that has very low levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in the plant.
The followers of the strange group turn the hemp into cannabis-based balms and ointments, which they say have the power to improve health and wellbeing. This comes as more than two dozen U.S. states have legalized some form of marijuana for medical or recreational use. However, the drug remains illegal at the federal level. California legalized recreational use of marijuana in November 2016.
Christine Meeusen, who is the founder of the group claims that a sister becomes a sister through a commercial relationship and earning a wage or a commission and they want to grow this way because they want to free the women, adding that they don't want to make them more dependent.
The founder of the group also pointed out that the group had roughly $750,000 in sales last year, the most since it started selling products in January 2015. President Donald Trump's administration and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are critics of marijuana legalization. This has been an issue of concern among people in the marijuana industry. However, the "weed nuns" claim that the new administration has strengthened their resolve.
The group claims that their response to Trump’s administration has been to launch their product in Canada. The group makes online sales to Canada, and hopes to launch an operation there in two months.
The founder of the group claims that she adopted the nun persona after she took part in an Occupy Wall Street protest in 2011 dressed as a Catholic nun. The look led her to be known by protesters as Sister Occupy.