California "weed nun" Christine Meeusen
California "weed nun" Christine Meeusen, 57, who goes by the name Sister Kate, poses for a portrait with hemp at Sisters of the Valley near Merced, Calif. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

California's 'weed nuns' on a mission to heal with cannabis

MERCED, Calif. (Reuters) The Sisters of the Valley, California's self-ordained "weed nuns," are on a mission to heal and empower women with their cannabis products.

Based near the town of Merced in the Central Valley, which produces over half of the fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States, the Sisters of the Valley grow and harvest their own cannabis plants.

[ad number="1"]

The sisterhood stresses that its seven members, despite the moniker, 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.

[ad number="2"]

The group says 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.

California "weed nun" India Delgado

California "weed nun" India Delgado, who goes by the name Sister Eevee, trims hemp in the kitchen at Sisters of the Valley near Merced, Calif. The group says 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. Members turn the hemp into cannabis-based balms and ointments, which they say have the power to improve health and well-being. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

Members turn the hemp into cannabis-based balms and ointments, which they say have the power to improve health and well-being.

More than two dozen U.S. states have legalized some form of marijuana for medical or recreational use, but the drug remains illegal at the federal level. California legalized recreational use of marijuana in November 2016.

"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.

She said the group had roughly $750,000 in sales last year, the most since it started selling products in January 2015.

[ad number="3"]

President Donald Trump's administration and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime critic of marijuana legalization, have worried some in the country's nascent legalized marijuana industry.

But the "weed nuns" say the new administration has strengthened their resolve.

"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 Canda, and hopes to launch an operation there in two months.

California "weed nuns"

California "weed nun" Christine Meeusen, right, and India Delgado, who goes by the name Sister Eevee, smoke a joint at Sisters of the Valley near Merced, California. Based near the town of Merced in the Central Valley, which produces over half of the fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States, the Sisters of the Valley grow and harvest their own cannabis plants. Photo by Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

 

 

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.”

“We've gotten a few hate calls but, by and far, the Catholics understand what we're doing," she said.

Comments

  1. Let’s see now. We got some “nuns”, who say they’re against religion, but who say that Weed is their Holy Trinity, but who also say “the Catholics understand what we’re doing”, but who ALSO are into “pre-Christian practices” (I think the horror writer HP Lovecraft employed that phrase somewhere!).

    Plus, in the top photo, Sister Kate has got this rapturous “Second-Coming-Of-Pot” look on her face, (perhaps the same look as the train engineers just prior to the fatal 1987 Conrail train crash.)

    So that’s my cue to get outta here, folks. Too much RNS will blow anybody’s mind, and I barely got a couple brain cells to work with anyway. So, see you in about 10 days, I hope!

  2. I hope you have your protective gear along.

  3. Nuns? What a farce, and a great example of cultural appropriation. Just think of all the people who think they have vowed their lives to serve God, that will not realize they are just phonies masquerading as something they are not. They must be high!

  4. It is a direct appropriation of Rastafarian sacrament anyway. Damn Catholics love stealing other people’s customs.

  5. “The group says 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.” if it weren’t so ludicrous, it would be sad. Lost people!

  6. If they smoke a low-THC strain, they aren’t getting too high.

  7. So are the nuns. The largest Christian sect uses an intoxicant as its sacrament. .

  8. Actually spud, they aren’t real nuns.

  9. Read the article, maybe? They have nothing to do with the Catholic Church, and “are against religion.”

  10. So they are just playing at being nuns. Fair enough. But there is no actual moral argument against weed that would not also apply to other less vilified intoxicants.

  11. There is, actually. People smoke weed to get high; people drink wine with meals, having no intention of getting high.

    Whether that’s “moral” or not, I leave to you – but it is a real difference.

  12. If people drank wine for something other than its intoxicating effect, then how come there is no real market for non alcoholic wine outside of those who can’t imbibe? People intend to be a little tipsy. Just not enough to fall down.

  13. Because most people don’t get “tipsy” on a glass of wine with dinner, so who would bother to buy something that’s probably not anywhere near as good?

    But everybody intends to get high when they smoke.

  14. Alcohol has no effect on people unless in excess? Of course non alcoholic wine won’t be nearly as good, people primarily drink it because it has alcohol. Besides smoking with a meal is pretty obtrusive and messy regardless of what is being smoked. 🙂

  15. Correct; a glass of wine with dinner has basically no effect. People drink it for the taste; people cook with it for the taste, too – even though the alcohol gets burned off.

    Your motivations may be different, of course.

  16. By “the Catholics know what we are doing” she probably means in regard to the Beguines, a lay movement of Catholic women (not nuns) once quite prevalent in Belgium. The women formed residential communities and were not under the control of the bishop or any other church authority. They were self-governing and economically self-sustaining. Due to their independence of course they were eventually suppressed by the Catholic authorities. The Beguines agreed to the suppression because they were devout Catholics. BTW, the wimple headdress (once the mark of a Catholic or Anglican nun) is a practical thing when farming, working in the fields, or walking or doing anything in dusty areas.

  17. They are not Catholics, have never been, and do not approve of the Catholic church.

  18. They do not claim to be adopting the ways of nuns. Instead they look to the Catholic Beguines as their inspiration. See my reply on the Beguines above. Beguines were not nuns, they were Catholic women who formed economically self-sufficient communities not under the authority of any church superior. For their independence they were eventually suppressed after becoming quite successful an quite large. You can still see Beguine residential buildings in Belgium.

  19. They shouldn’t be calling themselves Beguines either as well as nuns/sisters. They are a commune at best. Then of course you missed the obvious fact, they are not religious, they do not believe in religion. Their “holy trinity” is a mockery of THE Holy Trinity. That is the issue here, do not dress like a nun/sister, stop appropriating a religious culture thinking their garb is something it is not. Would you want people to begin dressing in police uniforms, as doctors, judges, firefighters or any other profession with distinct clothing? A nun’s habit is a religious symbol, and is a sacred identification. These people just want to legitimize their behavior by stealing it from another.

  20. Really? How is anyone/anything–except ants, maybe–going to become intoxicated by one thimble-sized sip of wine?

  21. So it’s intoxicating effect has no symbolic meaning whatsoever.

    It is just a happy coincidence carried over from Judaism which singles out wine for special praise and prayers. Which in turn got it from Mesopotamian people who made wine into its own deity (who was borrowed by Greco-Roman cultures).

    I will remember this at my next bacchanal, while I celebrate with dionysian fervor. 🙂

  22. You’re getting ‘way out there on that limb, Spud-puppy! Be careful not to fall off!

    Maybe you didn’t note that I said, “a thimble-sized sip of wine!” I suppose your church hands everyone a whole damned bottle!

  23. I didn’t even get into the sanctification of grain spirits! John Barleycorn and year king stuff of Germanic cultures

    Wine is also a symbolic sign of prosperity. A culture grows enough food for itself it has enough that it can devote surplus land or supplies to making stuff to get you slozzled.

  24. As I understand Catholic terminology, most “nuns” aren’t actual nuns but religious sisters. You have to be cloistered in a particular manner to be a Nun.

  25. The point isn’t that you’re going to get drunk off of it, the point is that many ancient religions — including Judaism and by extension Christianity as well — chose wine as a ritual practice due to its intoxicating qualities. Even non-alcoholic grape juice has a special quality to it. It’s more expensive I’ll tell you that.

Leave a Comment