California "weed nun" India Delgado, who goes by the name Sister Eevee, trims hemp in the kitchen at Sisters of the Valley near Merced, California, U.S., April 18, 2017. Picture taken April 18, 2017. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

After cannabis church opened its door to marijuana smokers for a spiritual high, two nuns in California have gone on a mission to empower and heal women with their cannabis products. Now known as “weed nuns,” Christine Meeusen, 57, and India Delgado, who go by the name Sister Kate and Sister Eevee, are trimming hemp in the kitchen at Sisters of the Valley near Merced, California.

The Sisters of the Valley grow and harvest their own cannabis plants. The seven members in the sisterhood do not belong to any order of the Catholic Church, despite the moniker. Sister Kate founded the order in 2014 on the premise that they don’t believe in any religion. Hence, they are not a religion. The nuns consider themselves Beguine revivalists, who reach back to pre-Christian practices. The self-ordained “weed nuns” are based out of Merced in Central Valley that produces over half of the nuts, vegetables and fruits grown in the US.

“A sister becomes a sister through a commercial relationship and earning a wage or a commission and we want to grow this way because we want to free the women, we don’t want to make them more dependent,” Sister Kate told Reuters.

The Sisters of the Valley’s Holy Trinity is the cannabis plant, more specifically hemp, which is a marijuana strain with very low levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in the marijuana plant. The hemp is then converted into various ointments and balms that the sisters believe have the power to heal and improve general health and well-being of a person. Cannabis remains illegal in the US at the federal level. However, California legalised recreational use of marijuana in November 2016.

More than two dozen US states have legalised marijuana for medicinal and recreational use. The nuns started selling the cannabis products from January 2015, and in 2016, it made about US$750,000 (AU$995,000 approx) in sales. The group also makes online sales to Canada and is hoping to launch an operation there in about two months. Sister Kate stated that her group has received hate calls but in general, Catholics have understood what they are doing. There is also opposition from President Trump’s administration.

His Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a long-time marijuana legalisation critic. On the other hand, Sister Kate donned the nun persona after she participated in an Occupy Wall Street protest, dressed as a Catholic nun in 2011, writes New York Post.