Quantcast

These California Nuns Grow Medical Marijuana, But Their City Wants to Shut Them Down

Health + Wellness

Two self-proclaimed nuns, Sister Kate and Sister Darcey, grow and sell marijuana for medicinal purposes in Merced, California. But the future of their business is now in jeopardy as the Merced City Council issued a temporary ban on marijuana cultivation after a 6-0 vote on Jan. 4.

The Sisters of the Valley grow and sell medical marijuana products in Merced, California. However, the city recently placed a temporary ban on marijuana cultivation, putting the sisters' business at risk. Photo credit: Sisters of the Valley

The Sisters of the Valley sell their line of medicinal salves, tonics and tinctures on Etsy. Their products, which are independently certified as organic, are high in CBD, or cannabidiol, a cannabis compound that has been shown to have significant medical benefits, and low in THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the better known cannabis compound with psychoactive properties.

According to the sisters, they make the medicine based on "ancient ritual," which involves turning their cannabis tinctures every morning and night, only bottling tinctures during a full moon and saying a healing prayer over every bottle and jar before it's sold.

"We make CBD oil, which takes away seizures and a million other things," Sister Kate told ABC News. "It's very high in demand from cancer patients right now. And we make a salve that's a multi-purpose salve, but we found out it cures migraines, hangovers, earaches, tooth aches and diaper rash." The salve is made from cannabis trim, coconut oil, vitamin E, lavender oil, calendula oil and beeswax.

But now, even though the sisters feel that their products are vital to their patients, they are in legal limbo. "It's frustrating to me because there are all of these people with negative attitudes about something that is truly God's gift," Sister Darcey told ABC News.

"The city council said it needs to do more research to determine the maximum number of dispensaries that should be allowed in Merced, which zones would be best for dispensaries or delivery services and if outdoor cultivation has setbacks," the Merced Sun-Star reported. "A second reading of the ordinance will be at the next meeting on Jan. 19. The ordinance becomes official 30 days later."

Merced is among dozens of municipalities in California moving to ban various aspects of cannabis cultivation, thanks to a loophole in the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which passed in October 2015. California voters approved medical marijuana nearly 20 years ago, but it wasn't until October that the state adopted regulations for the growth, transport and sale of cannabis. The legislation was hailed by lawmakers as "a comprehensive framework to regulate the industry," but there was one "glitch," as The San Francisco Chronicle put it.

"A provision written into the law said that if cities didn’t adopt their own land use regulations for allowing medical cannabis cultivation permits by March 1, the state would assume that responsibility," The Chronicle reported. So, cities such as Merced, are enacting their own ordinances so they can retain local control on regulations.

But that March 1 date was actually a typo, the author of the bill, Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), told The Los Angeles Times. The bill shouldn’t have included that stipulation, or any deadline at all, he said. Wood hopes to pass emergency legislation this month to supersede efforts from lawmakers in cities like Merced.

The point may soon be moot. Merced city councilman Kevin Blake told the Merced Sun-Star that recreational marijuana is expected to be on the state ballot in November. “I give it a year or two and this may all be irrelevant,” he said about the debate surrounding the local ordinance on medical marijuana.

Watch this clip from NowThis for more on the Sisters of the Valley (spoiler alert: they're fans of Bernie Sanders):

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Outraged Birders Warn Oregon Militia: ‘We Are Watching Your Every Move’

This Woman Wears 15,000 Bees to Help Others Connect to Nature

Mercury-Laden Fog Swirls Over California Coastal Cities

How One Man Plans to Make Billions Selling Water From Mojave Desert to Drought-Stricken California

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Stuart Braun

A year after activist Greta Thunberg first stood in the rain outside the Swedish parliament with her now iconic "Skolstrejk för klimatet" — school strike for the climate — placard, the movement she spawned has set the tone for environmental protest action around the world.

Read More Show Less
Bruno Vincent / Staff / Getty Images

Toy maker Hasbro wants to play in the eco-packaging game. The board game giant will ditch its plastic packaging by 2022. The move means that games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Operation will no longer have shrink wrap, window sheets, plastic bags or elastic bands, as the Associated Press reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Vaping impaired the circulatory systems of people in a new study. bulentumut / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Vaping one time — even without nicotine — can damage blood vessels, reduce blood flow and create dangerous toxins, according to a new study published in the journal Radiology.

Read More Show Less
A man spreads pesticides on a plantation of vegetables in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. Ze Martinusso / Moment Open / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Pointing to the deaths of more than half a billion bees in Brazil over a period of just four months, beekeepers, experts and activists are raising concerns about the soaring number of new pesticides greenlighted for use by the Brazilian government since far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January — and the threat that it poses to pollinators, people and the planet.

Read More Show Less
SHEALAH CRAIGHEAD

By Elliott Negin

On July 19, President Trump hosted Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins and their families, along with the family of their deceased colleague Neil Armstrong, at a White House event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The study looked at three groups of diverse lizards from South America. Daniel Pincheira-Donoso
  1. Cold-climate lizards that give live birth to their offspring are more likely to be driven to extinction than their egg-laying cousins as global temperatures continue to rise, new research suggests.
Read More Show Less
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Denmark isn't interested in selling Greenland to the U.S., so now President Trump doesn't want to visit.

Read More Show Less
A stock photo of fire in the Amazon; a record number of fires have burned there this year. Brasil2 / E+ / Getty Images

There are a record number of wildfires burning in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil's space agency has said. Their smoke is visible from space and shrouded the city of São Paulo in darkness for about an hour Monday afternoon, CBS news reported.

Read More Show Less