California Nuns Illegally Grow Medical Cannabis, Sell It Online

Nuns at the Sisters of the Valley in California are growing marijuana illegally and selling their mail order cannabis products out of a residential house in Merced, California, which has “banned dispensaries, deliveries from dispensaries and cultivation,” IBTimes reports. While the habit is an attire associated with the Catholic church, the women are not Catholics, and they don’t spend a great deal of time on their knees praying. Instead, Sister Kate and Darcy say they offer a “healing” ministry in a “prayerful environment.”

“We commit our life to cannabis,” said Sister Kate, who leads the Sisters of the Valley. “We commit our lives to the sisterhood. We live together, we work together, we’re a bit socialistic,” said Sister Kate. “If you look up what makes a ‘sister,’ those are the things.”

Due to the archaic cannabis laws in their city, the Sisters might want to consider relocating their business to Los Angeles where dispensaries are legal. As of now, they have until the end of February to move out of Merced.

“We are in the process of basically scheduling a workshop to discuss with council how to redo our ordinances,” said Mike Conway, Merced city spokesman, but the nuns says they aren’t waiting around for city officials and law enforcement to sort it out. They are expanding their Etsy business, which brings in around $400,000 a year via the high demand of salves and tinctures.

“Everything we are doing is illegal,” said Sister Kate. “Those plants you just saw in my garage…they’re illegal. The salves, the batch we’re about to show you, is illegal. Yes, everything is illegal.”

Medical marijuana has become a lucrative business in more than 20 states which have legalized the drug. As Business Insider notes, there are at least two active chemicals in marijuana that have medicinal properties: cannabidiol (CBD), which impacts the brain without a high, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which has pain-relieving properties. The Sisters of the Valley believe in the healing power of CBD. The nuns say their products do not give customers a “high” because most of the THC is eliminated in the cooking process. Once cultivated, the plant is stored in refrigerators and then cooked in crock-pots with coconut oil. Once it hardens, the product is shipped in jars all around the world.

“We’re selling out so fast, we’re struggling to keep up with demand,” said Sister Kate.

The nuns will soon move out of the city and into a farmhouse in the county where growing 12 plants is permitted, and they remain hopeful that in the end, the law will be on their side.

“From the standpoint, right will win at the end, but I don’t know how long that’s going to take,” said Sister Kate.


Researches have documented over 20 health benefits of cannabis, including treating and preventing glaucoma, decreasing anxiety, decreasing seizures, slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and easing the pain of multiple sclerosis. It also reduces some of the pain and nausea caused from chemo, and stimulates appetite. Additionally, CBD may help prevent cancer from spreading, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco reported in 2007. Of course there are negative effects of smoking too much marijuana, such as addiction, paranoia, and memory loss.

California lawmakers are seeking to propose a 15 percent marijuana sales tax to pay for state programs, rehabilitation, and parks under a bill that was introduced last Wednesday. The Marijuana Value Tax Act could bring the state more than $100 million in new revenue.

“Now that there is a long overdue regulatory framework put into place, it’s time to help fund the areas that are most affected by the cultivation — those communities that have long been paying the price of the negative effects of cultivation brought on by the ‘bad actors’ who destroy the environment and bring in crime,” Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, who authored SB987 and parts of last year’s marijuana regulations, said in a statement.

Cannabis is viewed as a “less harmful substitute for alcohol, prescription drugs, and other illegal substances” by those seeking alternate remedies for their health ailments.

[Images via ShutterStock]