Can California’s Cannabis ‘Nuns’ Save Medical Marijuana Despite Harassment and Local Bans?

Sister Kate and her apprentice Sister Darcy are not really nuns, but they do have a real mission—to grow and produce medical marijuana for those in need. They sell their products at moderate prices on Etsy, under the brand name Sisters of the Valley.

Kate, a 56-year-old Milwaukee native, spent a decade working in a business-related job in Amsterdam. After divorce and hard times hit, she decided to venture into an industry she knew about: pot.

But why the nun’s habit?

Kate told the Daily Beast that her nun persona came about when she decided to wear a habit to an Occupy protest, and people gravitated to her for advice and comfort and to ask for prayers. So she decided to keep it.

“We never hide the fact that we're not Catholic nuns; we're a New Age sisterhood,” Kate told Vice.

Only six months after launching Sisters of the Valley Cannabis, they’ve sold out everything they make. A recent note on their Etsy page apologizes: “Due to media attention, we have quickly sold out of most items and are behind in processing others.”

But supply and demand is the least of Sister Kate’s worries.

According to the Associated Press, California cities and counties are racing against time to make their own decisions on how to regulate pot cultivation.

Last October, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act into law, requiring local jurisdictions to develop their own regulations by March 1, 2016, or relinquish authority to the state government.

As many as 19 cities have scrambled to ban MMJ dispensaries before the deadline and more are considering doing the same.

The city of Merced, where the Sisters Kate and Darcy live and work, became one of them last week when the city council voted to ban MMJ cultivation pending further deliberation, according to the Washington Post

The decision prompted Kate to launch a petition.

Merced’s decision could drive the Sisters of the Valley to another jurisdiction—but not without a fight.

The Merced City Council “could shut me down,” Kate told Vice. “But I’ve already made it clear to all of them that they’re going to have to shut me down.”

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