Sisters of the Valley: Mexico’s Cannabis Crusaders Fight to Take Weed Back from Narcos

In the heart of central Mexico, beneath the glow of each full moon, a group of women dressed as nuns engage in a unique ritual.

These are the Sisters of the Valley, an international organization founded in 2014 with a mission to advocate for the healing powers of cannabis.

Despite their unconventional approach, the Sisters are not affiliated with any traditional religion. Instead, they embrace cannabis as a tool for wellness and empowerment.

In the US where recreational cannabis is legal in many states, the Sisters have capitalized on the growing popularity of the plant, earning over $500,000 last year by selling CBD tinctures, oils, and salves online.

However, in Mexico, where the drug war has left a lasting impact and Christianity is deeply ingrained in society, the Sisters face a different context. The image of a cannabis-smoking nun becomes an act of rebellion, challenging societal norms.

The Sisters operate cautiously in a legal gray area, with concerns about potential threats from law enforcement or criminal organizations.

“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,” says one nun, known as Sister Bernardet.

Despite their challenges, the Sisters are determined to take back the narrative around cannabis. Operating out of a discreet two-story concrete storefront in Mexico, they grow a modest crop, emphasizing the plant’s healing properties.

According to Reuters, The Sisters fashion themselves after a lay religious movement, the Beguines, that dates back to the Middle Ages.

This group, comprising single women, devoted itself to spirituality, scholarship, and charity without taking formal vows. The Sisters globally wear habits to project uniformity and respect for the plant, understanding the attention it attracts.

Alehli Paz, a chemist and cannabis researcher working with the Sisters, guides their cultivation efforts. The Sisters also engage in advocacy, participating in workshops and supporting the movement for full legalization in Mexico City.

The Sisters argue that the fight against drugs in Latin America has been a failure, resulting in widespread violence and mass incarceration. In Mexico, a country with roughly 75% Catholic majority and conservative values, the Sisters’ involvement has created tension within their families.

Sister Camilla, the founder in Mexico, faced strained relations with her evangelical mother, who initially struggled to accept her daughter’s deviation from traditional religious norms.

“It was hard for her to accept,” she said. “She had certain ideas, heavily shaped by religion.”

However, after extensive discussions about the plant and the broader legalization movement, Sister Camilla’s mother has become essential to the group’s operations, assisting in maintaining the farm and offering logistical support.

In the face of family tensions and societal resistance, the Sisters remain resolute in their mission.

“It’s time to put an end to this stupidity,” asserts one nun known as Sister Kika, highlighting their commitment to challenging outdated perceptions surrounding cannabis.

End of: Sisters of the Valley: Mexico’s Cannabis Crusaders Fight to Take Weed Back from Narcos