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A Convent of Kindness: Documenting The Sisters of the Valley

Nuns Cannabis Now Magazine
Photo by Charlie Llewellin

Industry Events

A Convent of Kindness: Documenting The Sisters of the Valley

A picture is worth a thousand words. On the surface, Sister Kate and Sister Darcy’s business could appear to be a gimmick along the lines of “Sister Act,” but The Sisters of the Valley are certainly no act.

On their website they sell salves, lotions and tinctures rich in life-saving CBD. The sisters say their salve heals “migraines, hangovers, earaches, tooth aches and diaper rash.” Photographers captured stunning portraits of the sisters in their home in California’s Central Valley.

“We are activists who are on a mission to heal the world!” the sisters state on their website. Darcy Johnson and her business partner Christine Meeusen opened their business in Merced, California. Johnson says she’s smoked since the tender age of 17. A few setbacks, like being zoned out of Merced County and losing their Etsy page could not stop the sisters. They became so popular last winter, they had to rapidly expand their business beyond their humble origins on Etsy. The sisters claim their products are legal due to a 2004 federal ruling, even though it doesn’t outline cannabidiol explicitly.

Photographers Shaughn Crawford and John DuBois reignited the buzz surrounding the sisters that began unfolding this last fall. The single-day shoot helped the sisters go viral once again.

“We are drawn to stories, the ones that personally interest us, that focus on the unique people out there that you won’t know a lot about but should,” DuBois told CNN. “People have an idea about people who grow cannabis and people may think they know about nuns, but it is in this place where the two intersect — this thin area where there is crossover — that’s interesting. That’s where we try to jump in.” Like a good photographer, DuBois said he photographed the sisters working naturally, instead of staging a shoot. The effect was tremendous.

DuBois and Crawford were surprised to learn that the sisters use used tools such as a common crockpot. A jar full of “Purple Cherry Maui” can be seen on a mantelpiece next to two nun statuettes. A refrigerator can be seen full to the brim with large bags of cannabis.

The sisters CBD-infused tincture contains 500 mg of CBD. Most of their products are made from their own CBD oil. The CBD oil they engineer is made from 97 percent pure CBD crystalline. Their salve has reportedly been used experimentally by their clients and the sisters say that they keep finding more uses. Most people by now are aware of the healing properties of CBD oil. The sisters version is made from coconut oil and organic plant material.

The photographers were able to capture unexpected quirky details. “When we do these projects, we are not just trying to capture the people, but we are also trying to show a glimpse of the places and things that go on around them,” DuBois added. “And the detail like their calendar with the water and growing cycles on the wall are all interesting details that really tell their story.”

The photo of the sisters smoking a joint on a rocking chair was the sisters own suggestion. The Victorian era-inspired photo captures a retro feel. “These were two really interesting women, and we so enjoyed getting to hang with them,” Crawford said.

The sisters have a new garden, new website and new customer market. They have no official affiliation with the Catholic church, but many consider their work to be pure acts of kindness. The sisters plan on saving enough money to expand vertically into a wholesale operation.

What do you think about the photos of the Sisters of the Valley smoking and growing cannabis?

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