No, we’re not joking. There really are nuns in the Golden State who make a living off growing weed.
Merced-based Sisters of the Valley, established in 2015 by lead nun Sister Kate, grows and manufactures plant-based medicine that is made to heal “the people.” Their process is sustainable and organic, with end products like soothing salves and lotions being offered to customers worldwide.
The sisters use medical marijuana as the main component of their products; medical marijuana is rich in cannabidiols, or CBD, which are often used to ease pain, reduce nausea, and produce calming effects for those with anxiety and depression.
And while they bare a resemblance to traditional nuns, the sisters are not at all affiliated with the Catholic Church. Instead, they aim to bring forth a new ideal — one that supports the environment and the women within it.
“We connect the dots between the last time it was legal for native people to put Mother Earth at the center of their spiritual practices, before cannabis and holistic medicine was demonized, before women’s bodies were regulated,” Sister Kate told the Modern Farmer. “The sisterhood is an antidote to the fact that women suffer the brunt of all poverty and coincidentally since Christianity became the only religion that was legal.”
The sisters’ strong feminist ideals lie in the values of the Benguines religious orders, which were an early example of feminism throughout the 13th-16th centuries. The Benguines allowed women to join and leave their organization freely, and encouraged economic self-sufficiency amongst its members.
For Sister Kate, these values are what make up the backbone of the Sisters of the Valley business. “When people see us in our veils they will know what we represent just like they do [when] a fireman [is] in his uniform,” she said.
The lucrative business operates under the state of California, where the sale of cannabis is legal under a licensed business. Surprisingly, the Sisters of the Valley nuns make sales up to $1,000,00 per year.
Their product line is still limited to cannabis, but Sister Kate hopes to change that up in the future by growing medicinal mushrooms and certain types of roots. She also wishes to incorporate a rescue hotline for homeless women, victims of abuse, and other women in need.
“We’re small right now, but we’ve got big dreams,” Sister Kate asserted.