DOPE Magazine correspondent Tom Domek recently interviewed Sister Kate, the New Age founder of Sisters of the Valley, a homegrown cannabis business located in Merced, California. Sister Kate, aka Christine Meeusen, is a well-educated, fifty-something healer and entrepreneur whose alternative lifestyle has piqued the interest of cannabis enthusiasts across the country. Here, Sister Kate delves into her beliefs and out-of-the-mainstream lifestyle.
DOPE Magazine: What is Sisters of the Valley?
Sister Kate: The Sisters of the Valley is a newly born, new-age group of Sisters whose fundamental mission is to get plant-based medicine into the hands of those in need. The mission is supported by their founding principles, which are to honor Mother Earth and her intelligent plant (cannabis), to provide a valuable product to the people, empower women to succeed and participate in peaceful, progressive activism.
Q: Who are the Sisters of the Valley?
A: There are five sisters: me, Sister Claire, Sister Freya, Sister Kassidy and Sister Evee. A year ago we occupied a small, one-acre farm in the Central Valley of California. We have two houses; one house we refer to as the abbey. We have a large kitchen dedicated to medicament-making.
Q: Why do you wear the traditional habit and “uniform” of Catholic nuns? After all, you aren’t actual nuns.
A: The Sisters don the habit of their ancient mothers to remind themselves daily and through meditation to walk and live in a manner that would make their foremothers proud. They occupy a habit that has been largely abandoned by church-affiliated nuns. They wear the uniform to announce to the public their profession, and to announce the enclave to which they belong. The order is patterned after the Beguines, who focused on lifting women out of poverty by providing training, jobs, housing and food security. Nuns are no longer out protesting with the people. They are going extinct, actually. So the uniform is unused, and yet it means something. We have co-opted the look, but not from Catholics, but from our ancient Beguine mothers whom the Catholic nuns co-opted from.
Q: So your “order” is focused on social activism, as well as developing healing products from cannabis?
A: We believe in helping locally, where we can. We are very focused on making honorable jobs for the women and men who need them. We have women’s hands in the air, volunteering to set up abbeys in their corners of the world, from Fresno to Dublin. We are getting ready to open a second kitchen in Fresno. We do have products being made in two other kitchens, but we don’t consider those abbeys. We would love to have a magic wand to help everyone, to put sisterhoods everywhere, to expand the compassionate mission swiftly, but we are earthlings and our powers are limited. We are very focused on making honorable jobs for women right here, because if everyone reached out a helping hand, the world would suddenly be connected by helping hands, and wouldn’t that be a lovely place? Our spirituality is for us alone, for we do not evangelize. We have no belief systems we wish to convert others from, other than the bad attitudes toward the intelligent plant, and the bad attitudes toward women in leadership and, especially, in spiritual leadership roles.
Q: Tell me about your products. What are some of your best sellers?
A: Our most popular product, by far, is our topical salve. Our second most popular items are our CBD drops. We have the drops in two forms—liquid coconut oil (virtually no taste) and as a tincture—and in 150 proof alcohol, which has a sting when dropped on the tongue, but is faster acting than the other. Seizure pets and people need the immediate reaction that the tincture gives. Most people use the milder-tasting form.
Q: Tell me about the cannabis you use in your products.
A: We grow and use the same medical marijuana strains that everyone else does, except the THC is virtually bred out of them. We use mostly AC/DC, Harlequin and Suzy Q. We have gone to calling it hemp because the 2004 Federal Court of Appeals ruling says that anything under one percent THC is considered hemp, and is out of the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). People take our products for a long list of reasons. People have reported to us great results with migraines through either using our tropical salve or the drops; for arthritic pain, people use the salve, which people also use for sleeplessness, anxiety and much more. People can order our products online at www.weednuns.com.
Q: Why are you and the others Sisters called to heal others? From what place inside you does that originate?
A: Some of us were born to be healers and some of us were formed by life experience—by a painful, circuitous path to the medicine. We are Beguine revivalists. We believe that housing security, food security, education security, upward mobility and equal opportunities are what people need to heal. The intelligent plant is a way to wealth for women who suffer the brunt of all poverty in all societies, and have since the beginning of time. We are called to a spiritual, peaceful life. We are called to living in harmony with Mother Earth and her people.
Q: How do your spiritual beliefs affect the development and preparation of your products?
A: We have rituals we follow. We wash our hands with holy soap. We burn sage and palo santo incense, we say a blessing of the hands, a blessing of the tools and a blessing of the packages when they go out the door. We sage before entering the kitchen. We protect the energies of the medicine from disturbance. The Sisters make products that their ancient mothers considered to be medicine. We take a vow of obedience to the moon cycles, the planting cycles and the cycles of medicine-making. All of the Sisters’ products are made between the cycle of the new moon and full moon. Every batch is labeled with the appropriate moon-cycle identifier.
Q: So is cannabis an inherently “spiritual” plant to you and, if so, how does it enhance one’s spirituality?
A: Yes, cannabis is an intelligent plant. The way we look at it, cannabis and women have suppression in common. Organized religion has done neither of them a favor. It’s time for them both to reclaim their space of divine recognition, of honor. Women have been disrespected, the plant has been disrespected, and when that happens society as a whole suffers.
Q: So what is next for you? What are the goals for your business, and how will you realize them?
A: Canada is next. It is called “Red Nation Risk” mitigation. If Cheetolini’s (President Trump’s) cabinet decides to turn against the plant, we could be stopped from shipping over state and international boundaries—even though all of our products are non-psychotropic, and have either zero or trace (less than 0.3 percent) THC. If that happens, our business would be crippled. Our real goal is big and bold: to have weednuns in every city across the globe.