They dress and live as nuns and are devoted to their mission of healing the sick and empowering women. But the Sisters of the Valley carry out their task in a strikingly different manner – they produce and sell hemp.
This is why they are called “weed nuns”.
These nuns carry out their ‘divine’ task from Merced in the Central Valley of California. They grow and harvest their own cannabis plants.
The hemp is turned into cannabis-based balms and ointments. According to the nuns, the products can improve health and wellbeing.
Hemp is a kind of marijuana which has very low levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound which actually gives the high.
Founded in 2014, the sisterhood is licensed to grow medical marijuana. And when California legalized the recreational use of marijuana in November last year things have become better.
Of course, sales are high. They started selling products in January 2015. In 2016, the sisterhood reportedly made $750,000 (approx Rs.4.8 crore) in sales.
And what about the reaction of the Catholic Church to nuns selling weed? Turns out that the women are nuns in name only.
Founder Christine Meeusen, who is called Sister Kate, said, “We’re against religion, so we’re not a religion. We consider ourselves Beguine revivalists, and we reach back to pre-Christian practices.”
The sisterhood has seven members each of whom earns a wage or commission.