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On a Mission from God

Holy Smoke!  From the LA Times to ABC Nightline, everybody loves the Sisters of the Valley, a group of nuns from Northern California who make and sell cannabis-infused medicines.

Nightline tracked them down in their remote off-grid growing location near Merced, CA and screened a short report – here is the transcript:

 

NIGHTLINE ANCHOR:  Religion, something so personal for many of us. But the self-proclaimed weed nuns you’re about to meet put their faith in an all-encompassing, cannabis-based farm where the key to healing is hemp. Here’s my “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang.

NUNS (GROUP)

Bless our food and bless our folk, and keep us in your grace.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) Prayer. Ministry.

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

Lead the way over to the abbey.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) Servitude. But these are not your typical nuns.

NUN (FEMALE)

How much have we had today?

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) Meet the Sisters of the Valley, the self-styled weed nuns, putting their faith in the healing power of cannabis. And their sermons, so to speak, aren’t just shaped around the sticky icky, they’re political, radical feminists to boot.

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

My big, dirty sin is I voted for Ronald Reagan. But I grew out of it and I think I see more clearly now.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) Their convent is nestled deep in northern California farm country, where I traveled to meet the unorthodox sorority.

NUN (FEMALE)

W for weed nuns.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) But before I could enter the premises, a peculiar request.

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

We’d like to ask you if it’s okay to cleanse you and sage you. We ask anyone who comes, invited to our to house to be cleansed before they enter. Is that okay?

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) Of course.

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

Thank you.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) What is this?

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

This is sage, it’s a white sage the natives used to cleanse your aura, to cleanse emotions.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) On this sun-drenched property tucked among vineyards and apple orchards, the women grow cannabis, using a strain of marijuana that eliminates THC but still contains CBD, touted for its healing properties.

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

It’s medical marijuana. So, just like over the years they’ve been able to develop strains that get you super high, we’ve also developed strains that don’t get you high at all.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) Which is the variety they grow in their “Garden of Weeden.” Sister Kate says their top seller, a topical salve to soothe achy joints, which rakes in $3,000 a day. A few of the ladies live in the compound, and a total of six sisters work in the business alongside two brothers.

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

We do need men, and we don’t want to be exclusive of the men. We just want the women to own the businesses and hold all the offices in town, that’s all.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) That’s hilarious. Sort of like the Amazon women of the “Wonder Women” movies.

NUN (FEMALE)

Yes. No. Yes, Exactly.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) Sister Kate what is you’d call the matriarch-in-chief at Sisters of the Valley. She says her company grew out of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the desire to build her own commune in an America that she says is leaving too many behind.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) You refer to it as healthy socialism.

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

Yes, healthy socialism.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) What do you mean by that?

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

Well, we believe in paying taxes. We believe, quite frankly, that America’s culture of starving the tax system is wrong. It’s morally wrong. Most of us have lived in other places where the tax system actually works. So, like, in the Netherlands, I raised my children there, 50% of their income is paid in taxes. But guess what, they never pay a hospital bill, they never worry about their retirement or being homeless. So, yes, we are very, very for a reasonable sort of socialism.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) What would you say to a critic who might say, you’re making a mockery of religion?

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

I would say religion’s made a mockery of itself.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) Not affiliated with any church…

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) Oh, my goodness.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) …the Sisters of the Valley are selling a different kind of belief, contained in their potions.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) Smells like every Grateful Dead concert I’ve ever gone to.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) The FDA recently approved CBD to treat rare forms of severe epilepsy. While they grow their own, they also ship from Oregon. When they’re not producing…

AUBREY PLAZA (ACTRESS)

This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) …you might find them hanging out with Aubrey Plaza or watching their patron saint, political comedian Randy Rainbow on YouTube. They do believe in Wi-Fi and singing and dancing and smoking an afternoon joint. Decidedly recreational. Yes, most of them partake in smoking weed, not the strictly medical stuff grown in their backyard. On the farm, daily life includes making what the women say is a line of medical-grade products. So, for hygiene purposes, another request.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) What is it good for medicinally?

ALICE FULLERTON (“SISTER ALICE”)

Generally, people use CBD for chronic pain, joint pain, any kind body pain. But also, it’s good for insomnia, anxiety, depression.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) CBD products have become wildly popular and widely available. While a handful of states have legalized recreational marijuana, 31 and the District of Columbia have public medical marijuana and cannabis programs on the books. Coffee shops in LA and New York City offer CBD drops in your coffee. Coca-Cola is considering a CBD product. In the realm of CBD, business is booming, expected to be a billion-dollar industry by 2022. But the ladies are taking it slow.

NUNS (GROUP)

To nourish and restore us.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) Every afternoon, they break for prayer and sustenance.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) In what way this is a religious life? Because some people might not agree with that assessment.

SIERRA WALKER (“SISTER SIERRA”)

Well, as we say, we are sisters. We live together and work together, we pray together. So, in that definition, we are truly sisters, truly nuns.

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

Take a vow of service, a vow of activism, a vow of chastity, which requires privatizing our sexuality, but it doesn’t require being celibate. But it does require keeping it very private, off the grid.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) But no vow of poverty? You don’t have to be impoverished?

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

That’s our living simply. Well, we feel with the just distribution of mother earth’s gifts, no one should live in poverty.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) Despite its selflessness and bohemian undertones, Sisters of the Valley raked in $1.1 million last year, according to the sisters. Religion and spirituality have their place for each member.

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

This is our uniform.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) Sister Anna, a new acolyte. We’re allowed to witness a moment that for them that for them feels sacred, the first time she dons the makeshift habit.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) How does it feel?

ANNA RADOYCE (“SISTER ANNA”)

Incredible.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(VO) But the sisters say their lives are not dedicated just to the herb but to the idea of their sisterhood, a women-owned and operated business that nurtures others as well.

JUJU CHANG (ABC NEWS)

(OC) So, are you turning patriarchy on its head?

CHRISTINE MEEUSEN (“SISTER KATE”)

That’s what we’re trying to do. We are on a mission to empower women to be their best spiritually, to be their best as an activist, to be in service to their own people on the planet. So, we’re out to inspire women.

You can buy products online from:  https://www.sistersofcbd.com/

You can also buy the poster of the image at top of this page.

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