Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Mexico’s weed "nuns" aim to take the plant back from the narcos

PHOTO: Raquel Cunha/Reuters 

As reported by Al Jazeera, a group of Mexican women have joined a worldwide movement of activists dressing as nuns to reclaim the holy herb. 

“We want to take the plant back from the narcos,” said one of the "nuns," who uses the moniker “Sister Bernardet” online and asked not to give her name for fear of reprisal. "In a country ravaged by drug war and embedded in Christianity, the image of a marijuana-smoking nun is an act of rebellion," writes Al Jazeera. The nuns argue that "the fight against drugs in Latin America has been a failure, leading to widespread violence and mass incarceration."

The Sisters of the Valley started in 2014 in California's Central Valley, and media attention followed. According to the article, 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 group's founder in Mexico, who calls herself "Sister Camilla" online and also declined to give her name, rebelled against the evangelical household of her childhood, leaving home at 16. While she reports it was hard for her religious mother to accept her daughter's role in the Sisters of the Valley Mexico, "today, after lengthy discussions about the plant and the legalisation movement, her mother is pivotal to the group's operations, helping to maintain the farm and offering other logistical support, she said." However, "joining the Sisters has created tension in nearly all of the women's families."

The US Sisters of the Valley have "launched a successful small business, selling CBD tinctures, oils and salves online, and raking in over $500,000 last year,"  the article reports. Their counterparts' farm on the outskirts of a village in central Mexico is more modest, growing their plants in pots. 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." And they are active in Mexico City pushing for full legalization in their country. 

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