The Sisters of the Valley went viral on social media when a video about them emerged in 2017. There were large amounts of backlash about mixing cannabis with religion but these women are not your typical nuns.
Sister Kate, one of the Sisters of the Valley, said “We don’t believe in a vow of poverty, but we do believe in living simply. We take a vow of chastity, but that just means privatizing our sexuality. We have a vow of obedience to the moon cycles, we have a vow of service to the people,” adding that such service includes “our medicine-making and educating our communities on CBD and the non-psychoactive elements of cannabis.”
The Sisters of the Valley view themselves in comparison to the Beguines with vows. The Beguines were an order of female healers in the 12th century that lived communally and created herbal medicine. But the Sisters use and work with cannabis medicine and believe the stigmatization and criminalization have oppressed its healing powers.
Sister Kate spoke about how the nun attire came about. She began the nun persona after the USDA (U.S Department of Agriculture) had acknowledged pizza as a vegetable. “When Congress declared pizza a vegetable, I declared myself a nun,” said Sister Kate. She did not do this as a big middle finger to Congress, but to symbolize sisterhood and radical activism. It is more so an eco-feminist religion; trying to make the earth a better place.
The Sisters of the Valley have not been around for a long time and if it wasn’t for Sister Kate’s dramatic career change and life circumstances in 2009, it is unsure if this working community of women would be around. Sister Kate went through a difficult divorce and left her corporate job. She followed the ‘green rush’ in California to soon create a nonprofit collective delivering cannabis service to the critically ill.
She now empowers women in a male-dominated industry to stand up to injustices. She has a farm in Merced, California where they grow cannabis and make products.
In 2014, Sister Kate turned her nonprofit into a business. The wages begin at $14 an hour and employees are paid for their time that they participate in as an activist and political activities. The women that are interested in becoming sisters will work with the group for at least 2 years and then ask or be made into a sister. The Sisters make CBD-infused products such as balms, tinctures, oils, and soaps. Their website is Sisters of CBD and ship nationwide.
What is so unique about their vow to the moon cycle is that it inspired them to start making products after the observation of the moon cycle. Because of their deep connection and belief in the healing powers of the moon cycle, they offer any products made outside of the new moon at a discount.