California's 'Sisters of the Valley' grow and sell cannabis products

"Weed Nuns", are a group of feminist healers who grow, harvest and produce their own line of cannabis products.
"Weed Nuns", are a group of feminist healers who grow, harvest and produce their own line of cannabis products.   -  Copyright  AP Photo
By Kerem Congar  & AP

Sisters are doing it for themselves in California's burgeoning marijuana business. 

Since the drug was made legal for commercial and personal use some years ago, new trends and lifestyles are emerging on the US west coast, which one day may be emulated in Europe.

The Weed Nuns are firm believers in the power of the industry to change mind, body and soul. 

They don't, however, represent an official religion, but wear traditional habits inspired by ancient Beguines and promote the healing properties of marijuana. 

Sister Kate Meeusen started the enclave eight years ago, after becoming active in the Occupy movement.

She says she wanted to empower women interested in healing and bought the remote home and farm in Merced County to launch a new age order of nuns.

AP Photo
California's 'Sisters of the Valley' grow and sell cannabis products.AP Photo

"We would earn our own way. We would own our own property. We decided that the world is probably ready for a new age order of nuns, that there's room for us, and that we don't have to be affiliated with any traditional religion." says Meeusen.

"In the course of the discussions of what would a new age order of sisters look like, we wouldn't beg. We would earn our own way. We would own our own property. And part of, I think, the gentle way to heal the problems of the planet is to have women own and control more things."

Booming business

In addition to locally sold marijuana products, the sisters also ship Cannabidiol (CBD) products, touted for its healing properties, worldwide through their website.

Their top seller is a tropical salve that soothes achy joints. There are currently six nuns living and working on the range. Their numbers fluctuate throughout the growing season, with women coming to stay at the property from places as far away as New Zealand.

AP Photo
California's 'Sisters of the Valley' grow and sell cannabis products.AP Photo

They have also expanded worldwide, with new chapters operating in Mexico, Brazil and Sweden.

"It gives them an opportunity to excel and develop their own business within the Sisters of the Valley community and create a multi-functional business that is not just about business and not just about healing, but about activism that is centred around cannabis and moving away from Big Pharma and moving away from being sick and moving into a more graceful place." says Sister Sophia Maya Costaras.

AP Photo
Sister Sophia Maya Costaras, Sisters of the Valley.AP Photo

And Costaras adds, "We're not ditsy stoner nuns. We try to say that to folks. We're not ditsy. We're scholars. We're intellectuals. We're spiritual. We walk our walk, and we walk it very fluidly with everyone. And our products are the real deal. It's handmade, handcrafted, and it's lab tested."

Video editor • Kerem Congar