Mexico’s weed ‘nuns’ taking the plant back from the narcos

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 2 Jan, 2024 13:59 | 3 mins read
Members of Sisters of the Valley smoke a joint together. PHOTO/Reuters

Beneath each full moon on the outskirts of a village in central Mexico, a group of women in nun habits circle a roaring fire, cleanse themselves with burned sage, and give thanks for the moon, animals and plants.

Then they inhale deeply from a joint and blow clouds of marijuana into the flames.

A member of Sisters of the Valley smokes a joint at the Sisters of the Valley's farm on the outskirts of a village in central Mexico. PHOTO/Reuters

Despite their clothing, the women are not Catholic or any other religion. They are part of an international group founded in 2014 called Sisters of the Valley, which has pledged to spread the gospel of the healing powers of cannabis.

Members of Sisters of the Valley smoke a joint together. PHOTO/Reuters

In the United States, where around two dozen states have legalised recreational marijuana, the group has also launched a successful small business, selling CBD tinctures, oils and salves online, and raking in over $500,000 last year.

Members of Sisters of the Valley travel with marijuana plants in a car. PHOTO/Reuters

But in Mexico, where a drug war has ravaged the country and Christianity is embedded in society, the image of a marijuana-smoking nun is more an act of rebellion, the women say.

Members of Sisters of the Valley inspect their weed products. PHOTO/Reuters

The sisters frequently post on social media, primarily Instagram, where they can be seen caring for cannabis crops, giving workshops and attending cannabis-related events.

Their product sales are a fraction of that of their US sisters – around $10,000 annually.

Members of Sisters of the Valley package marijuana products. PHOTO/Reuters

While prominent online, the women – five in total – are cautious about giving away too much about the location of their operations. They conduct business out of a two-storey concrete false storefront with one finished room.

Members of Sisters of the Valley work in the marijuana field at night. PHOTO/Reuters

Because cannabis sits in a legal grey area in Mexico and much of its production is still tied to criminal organisations, they worry police or local gangsters could arrive to threaten or extort them. Bundles of marijuana dry in clandestine crevices – hanging from a tucked-away laundry line, or hidden in the stove.

Members of Sisters of the Valley lying in an open field. PHOTO/Reuters

“The Sisterhood is in a totally different context here in Mexico – because of how religious the country is and because of the plant’s ties to cartels,” said one of the nuns, who uses the moniker “Sister Bernardet” online and asked not to give her name for fear of reprisal.

Members of Sisters of the Valley pack their weed products in bottles. PHOTO/Reuters

In her main job as a homoeopathic practitioner, she prescribes marijuana to her patients with cancer, joint pain and insomnia.

A member of Sisters of the Valley prunes a marijuana plant. PHOTO/Reuters

“We want to take the plant back from the narcos,” she said.

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