Holy toke: Weed-growing 'nuns' defy California town's cannabis cultivation ban
A California town’s crackdown on cannabis commerce is no match for two weed-growing 'nuns' who say their herb heals, and that the rules do not apply to them.
Despite a ban on cannabis cultivation in the town of Mercad, the Sisters of the Valley 'nuns' continue to grow their plants.
“This ban does not apply to us and so we’ve been operating straight through it,” they told RT.
Sister Darcey and Sister Kate have been growing marijuana and creating cannabidiol (CBD)-infused products for three years.
They claim their marijuana has low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which gives the ‘high’ effect associated with marijuana.
“Our medicine is medicine, and it is non-psychoactive,” they explained. “We’re dealing with what is actually hemp but really we advocate for whole plant legalization.”
However, the 'nuns' are not the traditionally religious kind but rather 'spiritual'.
They follow their own 'holy trinity' which includes honoring mother earth, honoring the people through making medicine and healing, and their progressive activism.
The nuns dedicate a portion of their week to “the good fight” for the poor people around them.
The Sisters of the Valley’s CBD salve was designed to provide arthritis pain relief, but users report it prevents migraines, toothaches and earaches.
The sisters say a prayer over each bottle before it is sent to customers, but the holy salve doesn’t come cheap, at $95 for eight ounces, and the CBD oil costs $85 for two ounces.
Sister Kate told ABC that she makes about $1,000 a day, but that she works legally with banks.
In states where medical marijuana is legal, there has been a 25 percent drop in painkiller related deaths, according to a 2015 study by University of Pennsylvania and John Hopkins researchers in JAMA Internal Medicine journal.
Holy schism emerges over marijuana legalization in Colorado, with clergy taking both sides
A vigorous back-and-forth between pot legalization supporters and foes entered the religious arena Wednesday. A slate of pastors called on Coloradans to reject making pot legal without a doctor’s recommendation.
“It’s heading to a path of total destruction,” warned Bishop Acen Phillips, who leads New Birth Temple of Praise Community Baptist Church in Denver.
About 10 pastors spoke at the event organized by the campaign to defeat the Colorado ballot proposal. If approved, the measure would allow adults over 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. Oregon and Washington have similar proposals before voters next month.
Colorado’s legalization supporters responded quickly to the holy war on pot, releasing a list of clergy members who support legalizing the drug and ending criminal penalties for its use. Those ministers argued that religious leaders and parents should guide decisions about marijuana, not the law.
“I do not support smoking pot. I do not like the stuff,” said the Rev. Bill Kirton, a retired Methodist minister in Denver. “But the harm it does is much less than sending more and more people to prison. And I think it’s time to legalize marijuana.”
Asked about supporting an illegal drug as a man of the cloth, Kirton chuckled that many of his former parishioners had probably tried marijuana. But he conceded that it can be difficult for active ministers to take a stand about the drug.
“A lot of pastors are, because of the toxic nature of current politics, they’re hesitant to speak out on issues,” Kirton said. Now retired, he said he feels more free to talk about pot. “I think there’s some hesitancy to speak out, but I think most of my peers would agree with me.”
Certainly not all of them, though. At the rival press conference, pastors warned that marijuana legalization could encourage youths to try the drug, leading to more serious problems later. They also repeated an argument made by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, that legalizing marijuana could attract drug dealers and others who prey on the needy.
“Is this really what we want for children? I don’t think it is,” said the Rev. Gail Bailey of Deliverance Tabernacle in Denver.
The anti-pot ministers also cited Colorado’s 12 years of experience as a medical marijuana state. They said that ministers currently deal with negative effects of the drug.
“We help folks with a medical marijuana card and have seen it being abused. We’ve seen it end up in the hands of children,” said Pastor Robert Woolfolk of Agape Christian Church.
The religious divide over marijuana is the latest arena in which folks are taking sides on Colorado’s pot measure. The pro-marijuana and anti-marijuana groups have in recent weeks gone back and forth over who sides with them.
After some business leaders opposed it, other business owners and a worker’s union favored it. Last week, marijuana opponents announced the support of the Colorado chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In response, legalization supporters put out a list of 300 doctors who favor the measure.