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Group of fake nuns sit around smoking weed and we’re just here for the pictures

In the heart of Mexico, a group of women is fighting the system by dressing up as nuns, dancing around fires and smoking industrial quantities of weed.

Calling themselves the Sisters of the Valley, they are part of an international movement founded in 2014 which is centred on the so-called healing power of cannabis and respect for nature.

There’s nothing particularly religious about what they do – the habits are partly to identify them as part of the group and partly just for provocation.

The Latin American country is roughly 75% Catholic, so the image of a nun puffing away at a joint can rile some people up, including the families of the five women in the Mexican chapter.

But they have bigger fish to fry, campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis and cultivating enough of the drug to break the monopoly of the local narcos.

Each weekend, they can be found tending to their plants, producing cannabinoid salves and filling old coffee jars with different strains.

The Mexican Sisters grow a modest crop that only makes them around $10,000 annually, a fraction of their counterparts north of the border.

Following the liberalisation of marijuana laws in many US states, the American branch grew its online business selling CBD tinctures, oils and salves to bring in more than half a million dollars last year.

In Mexico, the plants are grown in old paint pots set out in rows on a village rooftop.

When they have grown enough, they’re moved to walled-off gardens pointed out by sympathetic older local women – beyond the gaze of local police or gangsters.

Because of that constant threat, the Sisters have learned to be secretive in their business, drawing the curtains and drying their product in tucked-away places like the stove.They’re also cautious about giving away too much detail about the location of their business premises.

The Supreme Court of Mexico has ruled personal marijuana possession legal, but the industry operates in something of a grey area: much of the production of the drug is linked to criminal organisations.

Despite the court’s decision, the country’s parliament has dragged its feet for years on pressing ahead with legalisation – something the Sisters feel strongly about.

They have travelled to Mexico City to press for action, and argue that the war on drugs has just led to mass incarceration in the country.

And although there were some initial misgivings among family members about their business, the Sisters’ powers of persuasion appear to be working.

The once-skeptical mother of founder ‘Sister Camilla’ now helps to maintain the farm and support the group’s logistics.

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