You know that the normalization of marijuana has reached new frontiers when nuns can be found smoking fat doobies before prayer. Times are, indeed, a changin’.
They call themselves Sisters of the Valley—a group of nuns who now run a medicinal marijuana business in California’s Central Valley. Most of the Sisters grew up in a traditional religious setting: attending private Catholic school, raised by other nuns, encouraged to pursue a life of purity and service. And for many, this means tending to those with dire medical conditions. Mother Teresa herself reached sainthood through her work tending to those dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis.
Since the legalization of medical marijuana in California in 1996, researchers and physicians have found its medicinal properties capable of treating similarly life-threatening conditions like severe childhood epilepsy and cancer. Watching the medical marijuana industry make one breakthrough after another, Christine Meeusen—now known as Sister Kate—saw an opportunity to help countless fellow Americans treat, or overcome, their medical conditions. Opening a medical marijuana company, she believed, was a way to help the greatest number of people with the resources at her disposal.
She decided to name her company Sisters of the Valley, with the aim of providing medical marijuana, employing women in need, and washing away the stigma of the apparent miracle plant.
Or as the Sisters put it on their Facebook page, “Our mission is to put prayers for healing intention into every jar and every bottle of natural medicine we make, and to help spread the good word about cannabis.”
Employees of Sisters of the Valley can be recognized by their traditional clothing—white hoods (called “habits”), modest monochromatic dresses, or white blouses atop long blue denim skirts.To see them on a crowded street corner, they’re the last people on earth you would expect to sell weed. The
Sisters of the Valley sold $750,000 worth of product last year alone.
The Sisters of the Valley don’t only sell marijuana in its original form. They also have their own line of oils, tinctures and creams. After being kicked off of Etsy last year for trying to sell a product that is still under federal prohibition, the Sisters launched their very own website. Based on the website’s layout, one would never know that they were buying marijuana products from nuns.
Their marijuana business has been subject to stunning photo projects that capture the unorthodoxy of their lifestyle. The nuns can be seen trimming, harvesting and even toking up in otherwise formal-looking ceremonies. It’s arresting imagery for anyone who has grown up in a Catholic household. They also reportedly use a ritualistic growing cycle, operating in conformity with the moon’s cycles, intended to endow their products with a sort of spiritual essence. In the same way that Rabbi’s bless certain foods to help make it kosher, or Christian priests sanctify water to make it holy, the Sisters hold ceremonies to give their marijuana a sacred quality.While the rituals may turn off agnostics, there’s nothing fake about these nuns commitment to marijuana-based-healing.
If only all religious figures openly smoked weed, maybe we would finally find a little peace on earth.