MEET the hippy marijuana-growing nuns who rake in £850,000 a year selling cannabis products.
Sisters Of The Valley – a community of nuns in Merced County, California – are behind a million-dollar operation flogging pot-based health goods.
Nuns from the Sisters Of The Valley picking marijuana. The sisters rake in more than a million dollars a year selling cannabis-based health products[/caption]
The sisters grow marijuana in Merced County, California, where the drug is legal[/caption]
Such is their success that the Sisters are the subject of an upcoming documentary directed by a British filmmaker.
The film, Breaking Habits, is even due to be released on Saturday to mark “4/20” in the US calendar – a weed users’ holiday.
Sister Kate Meeusen, 60, gave up life as a corportate executive and turned to weed-farming in 2011 when she started Sisters Of The Valley.
Beginning with just 12 plants, the business has now grown into an international operation.
It’s a wonderfully healing plant. Gradually the world is starting to open up to the idea of cannabis as medicine, rather than treating it as a dangerous drug
Sister Kate Meeusen
She says her products so far have a “100 per cent” success rate at curing customers’ harmful addictions – although she admits she has a small sample size.
Sister Kate explained: “We worked with eight people who were addicted to either alcohol, tobacco or meth, but they all got better.”
“That’s a better success rate than Alcoholics Anonymous.”
The nuns also use CBD – an active ingredient derived from cannabis – to treat everything from epilepsy to cancer.
Sister Kate added: “It’s a wonderfully healing plant.
“Gradually the world is starting to open up to the idea of cannabis as medicine, rather than treating it as a dangerous drug.”
‘STONER TO HEALER’
Breaking Habits director Rob Ryan says that Sister Kate’s fight to change the cannabis industry from “stoner to healer” is genuine and heartfelt.
He said: “It’s a story about a woman taking on the local establishment to change the law on cannabis in the healing sense.”
And the documentary is just part of the sisters’ plan for world expansion of their medicinal-marijuana empire.
Sister Kate said: “We intend to have enclaves in every town and province in the next 20 years.
“We’re going to be doing more and more with Hollywood, because that’s the megaphone to the world.
“We’re also planning an edgy, political series, done in cartoon form.”
Stoner's holiday – What is 4/20 and why is it celebrated?
4/20 is the US method of saying April 20 – and it has signifigance among some who smoke majriuana.
Every year stoners gather to take the drug in parks and other public spaces – especially in legal states like California and Colorado.
There are several theories as to why 4/20 is such a significant date.
Although the most popularly-held reasoning dates back to the hippy days of the 1970s.
Steven Hager, a former editor of the marijuana-focused news outlet High Times, told the New York Times that the holiday came out of a ritual started by a group of high school students.
As Hager explained, the group of Californian teenagers smoked marijuana every day after school at 4:20pm.
The ritual soon spread, and 420 became a code for smoking marijuana.
Eventually 420 was converted into the date 4/20 – or 20/04 in British terms – and the day of celebration was born.
But despite her upcoming screen debut, Sister Kate says she doesn’t actually like the film anymore.
She said: “I’ve seen the film so many times I’m sick of it, I didn’t like it but everyone else likes it so I’m happy about that.”
The film explores how Sister Kate and her team have fought bitterly against “white man rule”.
This includes an obstructionist country sheriff and black market thieves.
Sister Kate, makes and sells CBD products such as salves and oils, said: “We don’t like the white man rule.
“Farm people are very slow to adapt to new ideas, people are stuck in the 1950s with their ideas towards the cannabis plant for medicinal use.”
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On Monday the activist weed nuns will also be protesting ecclesiastic privilege and clerical sex abuse.
Sister Kate added: “We are accustomed to fighting for the rights of the marginalised
“If a clergy-person, an elder, a priest, a pastor sees abuse, they must report it.”
Sisters Of The Valley started in 2011 with just twelve plants, but has now grown into an international operation[/caption]
The sisters picking marijuana that will then be used in health products[/caption]
Sister Kate Meeusen, centre, started the business in 2011 after giving up live as a corporate executive[/caption]
CBD is extracted from the cannabis and used in a range of products[/caption]
The cannabis is treated as the products are made[/caption]
Sisters Of the Valley make and sell a range of salves and oils[/caption]
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