Mexico’s weed ‘nuns’ want to take the plant back from the narcos

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Members of Sisters of the Valley, a non-religious international group founded in 2014 which has pledged to spread the gospel of the healing powers of cannabis, who use the monikers "Sister Maru" and "Sister Bernadet" online and asked not to give their names for fear of reprisal, and Alehli Paz (R), 34, a chemist and marijuana researcher working with the group, check dry hemp at a house in Mexico City, Mexico, December 3, 2023. In Mexico, where a drug war has ravaged the country and Christianity is embedded in society, the image of a marijuana-smoking nun is more an act of rebellion, the women say. The sisters frequently post on social media, primarily Instagram, where they can be seen caring for cannabis crops, giving workshops, and attending cannabis-related events. REUTERS/Raquel Cunha SEARCH "CUNHA MEXICO NUNS" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.

The Sisters fashion themselves after a lay religious movement, the Beguines, that dates back to the Middle Ages. The group, made up of single women, devoted itself to spirituality, scholarship and charity, but took no formal vows.

The Sisters globally say they wear habits to project uniformity and respect for the plant, but they also know it catches media attention.

Under the guidance of Alehli Paz, a chemist and marijuana researcher working with the group, the Sisters in Mexico grow a modest crop.

They pot plants in old paint buckets and place them in rows between four unfinished concrete walls on a rooftop.

Once grown, the Sisters move the plants to walled-off private gardens they identified with help from supportive older women in the community.

Their participation is limited to weekends they can steal away from their lives. Powered by a seemingly never-ending stream of joints and packed pipe bowls, the women spend time at the farm pruning plants, producing cannabinoid salves or weighing and storing different strains, labeled and dated, in old glass coffee jars.

They also visit others in Mexico City pushing for full legalization in the growing cannabis community, or give… Read full article here