A business run by self-proclaimed nuns is making a living by selling “healing” pot online.
Christine Meeusen, who goes by the name Sister Kate, is the founder of a medical cannabis company, which she operates out of her home in California’s Central Valley, according to Business Insider. Sister Kate’s goal is to erase the negative stigma around cannabis, as well as create jobs for women who believe in its healing powers.
In 2016, Sisters of the Valley generated roughly $750,000 in sales of its line of salves, tinctures and oils derived from hemp, a type of cannabis plant that contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive ingredient in weed.
“No matter what we read about cannabis in the last 20 years, we didn’t listen to it,” Sister Kate said. “Because we knew we were dealing with a healing plant. We knew, intuitively, without having the science [to back us], that it was being demonized.”
The sisters grow a strain of cannabis they say is rich in CBD, a chemical compound believed to be responsible for many of the drug’s therapeutic effects. They claim their products provide relief from pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and debilitating diseases.
Not only do they grow 12 hemp plants — the maximum allowed under county law — in a garage-turned-greenhouse, but the sisters say they infuse their products with healing powers through rituals, such as only manufacturing from the new moon to the full moon, and holding a ceremony under the stars to bless their work table.
The sisters sold their products on Etsy until the site kicked them off in 2016 for violating its drug policy. Now they have their own website, which netted $60,000 in sales in 2015, their first year. Currently the online store earns about that much monthly, yet the company is not profitable. In fact, as much as $150,000 is currently tied up in credit card processing and banking.
“Because we are considered ‘high risk,’ [the banks] have the right to hold big chunks of funds for a very long time,” explained Sister Kate.
She also noted that the cost of security and repairs on the property eats up a large part of their profit — not to mention the constant legal threats from local and federal governments. Despite the risks, Sister Kate has plans for expansion, saying that she hopes to start chapters, which will be called “abbeys,” from coast-to-coast over the next five years.