A nun smoking weed is the last thing that comes to mind regarding the religious women but a group of “nuns” in California are doing just that and more. The Sisters of the Valley are self-ordained “weed nuns” who are on a mission to heal and empower women through cannabis products. They are based in the town of Merced in the Central Valley, which produces over half of the fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States.
The seven members of the sisterhood have made it known, despite their name, they do not 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,” said 58-year-old Sister Kate, who founded the sisterhood in 2014. The groups Holy Trinity is the marijuana plant, more specifically hemp, which they turn into balms and ointments.
“A sister becomes a sister through a commercial relationship and earning a wage or a commission and we want to grow this way because we want to free the women, we don’t want to make them more dependent,” said Kate, whose real name is Christine Meeusen. Last year the group brought in a revenue of $750,000-the most to date since they started in 2015.
The administration of President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have worried some with their alleged statements of “cracking down” on the marijuana industry but the nuns see it as motivation. “The thing Trump has done for us is put a fire under our butts to get launched in another country,” said Kate. “Our response to Trump is Canada.” The group makes online sales to Canada, and hopes to launch an operation there in two months.
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.”