"Parish" of the so-called "Valley Sisters Society" is located in a modest three-room house on the outskirts of the California town of Merced, located in a cul-de-sac near the railroad tracks.
Sister Kate, the head of this society, meets all the guests on the doorstep of the house with incense from the narrow-leafed fir, given to her by a shaman, the smoke from which, she said, will give them "the wisdom of nature".
In addition to Sister Kate, another member of the Order also lives in the house, Sister Darcy and Kate's younger son. The self-proclaimed “weed nuns” don’t consider themselves holy rollers, in fact, they have no religious ties at all.
Naturally, women from this order are not ordinary nuns. In the garage of the house, the sisters grow varieties of cannabis that have a high content of CBD compounds, from which they then independently produce oils and medical extracts in their kitchen to sell them through their lot in the electronic market of Etsy with a mission to empower people to heal themselves using their cannabis products.
Women are engaged in harvesting and making medicines in the "formal uniform" of the order, consisting of long jeans skirts, white shirts with a collar and a monastic hood. The weed nuns say they make their products in a spiritual environment and prepare medications during moon cycles.
Their organization is still very small - recently they were joined by a third sister living in the Mendocino district, known by the name Sister Rose - they continue to do their business, which they also consider a good thing capable of transforming the whole face of the modern hemp industry And help many suffering people.
Despite such a grandiose goal, they face a much more ordinary task, which bothers many other growers and producers of hemp oils from California: an increase in the scale of their production. Women of the state of Washington and New Jersey already expressed their interest in joining the order. "They have already acquired the form of our order and are preparing to start their own production of oils," says Kate.
Members turn the hemp into cannabis-based balms and ointments, which they say have the power to improve health and wellbeing.
Despite the fact that Kate was raised in a Catholic family, her connection with "organized, major religions" ends with her choice of clothes and the title of the order.
The organization of sisters is based on several spiritual principles, in which lie some ideas of paganism and mysticism (growth and harvesting is calculated in phases of the moon, while in the preparation of oils, sisters say prayers, for "good medicine and a sincere desire to heal" ), The principles of the ecological movement (the sisters consider that cannabis "is the gift of the Mother of Nature to mankind, for its physical and spiritual healing"), progressive politics (on the question of whether Kate's sister will be offended if the journalists Will address to it simply by name she has noticed, that in the world it is offended only by that,
Each sisters day of labor begins with what they call the "Bible reading period." In fact, at this hour they simply respond to email inquiries sent to them, offers to purchase oils in their lot in the online store, as well as comments on their pages in various social networks, from YouTube to Facebook.
Thanks to these resources, they were able to attract considerable attention to the Internet to their problems, which led not only to an increase in demand for their products, but also to a massive influx of letters with kind words of support, which, according to Sister Darcy, she had to disassemble about 3-4 Days. "This kind of delay in responding to our clients and supporters is like a sin for us," Sister Kate remarked jokingly.
Sister Kate told KFSN-TV they consider themselves nuns because they are there to heal the sick. “We spend no time on bended knee, but when we make our medicine it’s a prayerful environment. It’s a prayerful time,” she said.
Nevertheless, when communicating with the Sisters it becomes obvious that they sincerely believe in the medical properties of hemp oil and are in every way trying to help people who need its medical properties.
55-year-old Kate, began to participate in the cultivation of medical cannabis after a long and difficult divorce. She returned to the United States from Amsterdam, where she lived and worked as a financial consultant for about 10 years, in early 2008, right at the very beginning of the financial crisis, which suddenly caught her and her three children. Her brother helped her get back on her feet, offering to help him cultivate medical hemp in California.
After marijuana therapy helped her nephew to overcome opiate addiction, she became an ardent supporter of the therapeutic use of marijuana. The family was able to successfully survive financial difficulties due to its small business. .
Kate began to dress in the nun's attire from November 2011, at the height of the "Wall Street Occupation" movement. Her motivation for wearing such clothes was the decision of the US Congress to recognize frozen pizza as a vegetable, which she came to think of, "Well, if pizza is now a vegetable, then I'm probably a nun," having since decided to wear monastic clothes as a sign of protest. Since then, she joined the local movement of the "occupation", noting in local media as "Sister of the movement."
According to her, the idea with the nun's clothes was a simple, unimportant symbol, until she noticed that people have some kind of trust in a person in religious attire. At the same time, the following incident occurred with her, which was the beginning of her own business, which became an order: she discovered that her brother, she said, was selling cannabis to the black market, as a result of which, after arguing with her, he kicked Kate and her children out His house.
Shortly after the founding of her own business, through mutual acquaintances among the activists, Kate met Darcy Johnson, who decided to join the newly formed order only after a short telephone conversation. The 24-year-old Washington resident, Sister Darcy, says she previously traveled around the world doing various activities, including working on an organic farm in New Zealand. Looking for what she called "her calling," she ran into Kate, determined to help her in her endeavor.
"In my opinion, this is my destiny and my happiness in life," says Darcy.
At the moment, the sisters do not surrender to the mercy of city officials, gathering supporters to exert pressure on local authorities to change existing laws.
According to women, the main law for them is the will of people who want to use products from medical hemp, and not the rules of officials. "We just will not tolerate their arbitrariness," Sister Kate said. "Their decision is against the wishes of their citizens, so they are wrong, not us, and we are going to fight this injustice."