Sister Kate and Sister Darcey, the dynamic duo known as the “Sisters of the Valley,” which strangely pledges no real allegiance to the man upstairs, only to their mission to cure the sick with the healing powers of the cannabis plant, have locked horns with the Merced City Council over a proposed ban on cannabis cultivation that could undoubtedly end their mission to work in medical marijuana and, even worse, cripple their livelihood.
For the past year, the sisters have been using a small pot garden to produce cannabis-based salves, tonics and tinctures, which are then packaged and sold on the Internet, mostly to cancer patients. The products are rich in cannabidiol or CBD and do not contain THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for producing the stoned effects associated with marijuana use.
“We make CBD oil, which takes away seizures and a million other things,” said Sister Kate. “It’s very high in demand from cancer patients right now. And we make a salve that’s a multi-purpose salve, but we found out it cures migraines, hangovers, earaches, toothaches and diaper rash.”
According to ABC 30, the city of Merced is hell-bent on running the sisters out of town on a rail.
“Yes it’s frustrating to me because there are all of these people with negative attitudes about something that is truly God’s gift,” said Sister Darcey.
At the core of this debate is a typo on a bill that gives cities like Merced the option to either opt in or out of medical marijuana by March 1. On Monday, the Merced City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that allows the city to maintain control over pot cultivation and sales. This was done to prevent the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act that was signed last year by Governor Jerry Brown from assuming control over their local rules, which would have forced the city to deal with the reality of legal medical marijuana.
A report in the Merced Sun Star suggests the ban is only temporary until the council can thoroughly evaluate what is at stake and draft a proper ordinance. So far, around 19 cities throughout the state of California have imposed bans on medical marijuana dispensaries, while several more are considering a variety of other bans and restrictions.
Next week, however, the Sisters of the Valley plan to plead their case before the Merced City Council votes on whether to continue allowing personal cultivation. The final decision on this matter could end up forcing the sisters out of business or strong-arm them into moving to a jurisdiction more receptive to the ways of the state.
Merced Councilman Kevin Blake believes the debate surrounding the local ordinance will be alleviated within the next couple of years, especially since California is poised to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in the November election.
“I give it a year or two and this may all be irrelevant,” he said.
Furthermore, State Assemblyman Jim Wood, one of the primary authors of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, plans to correct the deadline error that has promoted so many cities to into a frenzy to ban elements of medical marijuana. The lawmaker recently told The Los Angeles Times that he was preparing to submit emergency legislation to eliminate the date before cities like Merced can take action.
Do these nuns have a higher calling? Should patients in medical marijuana states be allowed to grow their own medicine?