These aren’t the same nuns you remember from your childhood.
Aubrey Plaza is out there promoting her new movie “The Little Hours” in which she plays a vulgar, foul-mouthed nun. One bit of promotion comes from WatchCut Video featuring Plaza spending some time with the Sisters of the Valley, a.k.a. Weed Nuns.
According to their website, The Sisters of the Valley are a group of women who have dedicated themselves to “bridging the gap between Mother Earth and her suffering people.”
The Sisters, who grow marijuana on their land in California, aren’t doing it to get people high. Instead, The Sisters prepare hemp, which is low on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive property of marijuana that gets you high.
They take the hemp and create ointments with cannabidiol or CBD that are used to manage ailments and pains.
Here’s what went down between Plaza and the nuns, who, by the way, are not connected to the Catholic church.
The nuns made sure they didn’t show up empty handed.
CREDIT: WatchCut Video / YouTube
“This is a gift we brought you,” Sister Kate told Plaza. “This is called Purple Cream. That’s not for our medicines. That’s for The Sisters’ private medicine cabinet.”
Plaza got a crash course on how to prune a marijuana plant to get to the buds.
CREDIT: WatchCut Video / YouTube
There was a brief moment when Plaza thought that she ruined hers but it was all good. Of course, the nuns smoked pot with Plaza while they worked because they are The Weed Nuns.
By the end of the video, after learning what they do, Plaza admitted that she wants to become a Weed Nun.
CREDIT: WatchCut Video / YouTube
The two sisters were clearly very excited that they were able to convince Plaza to join their crew.
Back in 2015, a year before leaving office, then-Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro Padilla signed an executive order legalizing medical marijuana. Two years later, Gov. Ricardo Rossello signed the legal framework to make Puerto Rico the only Caribbean island to legalize recreational marijuana. Now, there are around 72,000 patients that have signed up for the program run by the Department of Health. Despite many legal challenges, Puerto Rico is seeing a financial boom when it comes marijuana and the cultivation of the product.
So far, $11.5 million has been added to Puerto Rico’s economy due to recreational marijuana.
Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, is seeing some recovery from the legalization of pot. Puerto Rico is also under extreme pressure from its $72 billion in public debt that has caused myriad problems for island residents. However, it seems that recreational marijuana might be the ticket to Puerto Rico financial recovery.
According to NBC News, Puerto Rico has issued 77 dispensary licenses and 40 shops have opened on the island. The government projections also show that cannabis legalization could generate $100 million in new tax revenue by 2020 and create more than 20,000 jobs.
In order for Puerto Rico to reach those figures, it will depend on the number of new patients. With continued customers and a growing consumer base, the projected revenue numbers are a true possibility.
“It’s a new industry with a lot of exciting opportunities,” said Puerto Rico’s pot commissioner, Antonio Quilichini, executive director of the Puerto Rico Cannabis Program and Regulation Board, told NBC News. “We are seeing more and more patients register; we went from 20 patients a week to 1,500. Patients are excited and are welcoming alternative ways of healing.”
Despite growth, there are still challenges that come with dealing with the marijuana industry that includes financial institutions.
While there is a lot of money to be made through medical marijuana, the plant is still labeled as an illegal substance. That means many financial institutions aren’t lining up to offer services just yet.
Banking seems to be the biggest challenge in Puerto Rico. Tu Coop, the only local credit union providing services to the medical marijuana industry, had to cancel credit accounts earlier this year. Banco Cooperativo, a larger bank overseeing the credit union’s transactions, stopped accepting their checks.
International policies, like the UN’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, hinder banking institutions from accepting money from a business selling marijuana. This is one obstacle that has slowed the growth of the marijuana industry in several countries, including Uruguay. The bank institute block can only change if marijuana is declassified as a narcotic drug on federal and international levels.
Despite the issue being solved after a judge ordered the larger bank to reinstate Tu Coop’s accounts, there are still many hurdles to overcomes. If a few financial institutions will work with the marijuana industry then a cash business will be the only alternative. This only serves to make it harder to track numbers and can be labor intensive.
This is why lawmakers in the House are expected to vote on the SAFE Banking Act, which would let legal cannabis businesses to use federal banking institutions. It would also help relieve the tensions between federal and local governments trying to oversee legal marijuana.
What’s the future for marijuana in Puerto Rico? The sky is the limit.
Despite various challenges in Puerto Rico, the growing marijuana industry is bringing optimism. With a growing number of patients, more growers and more regulations to help ease financial concerns, the possibilities are endless on the island.
While there might be certain stigmas that follow the industry and the plant itself, the move to make recreational marijuana legal has eased some of those misconceptions. Only time will tell where the industry goes and how much of a financial effect it will have on Puerto Rico.
Uruguay made history by becoming the first country to legalize cannabis in 2013, with former President Jose Mujica signing legislation to allow for recreational use of the plant. Now, investors are hoping the country can become an export hub for medical marijuana as the industry continues to expand globally.
There is serious money to be made off medical marijuana and investors want in on it.
Uruguay has been at the forefront of regulating and cultivating medical marijuana but a new investment group wants to capitalize on this. Silverpeak Life Sciences Uruguay Inc, one of the companies in the Uruguay’s growing medical marijuana industry, is working with investors to raise $35 million to increase production and build a larger extraction lab next year.
According to Silverpeak Life Sciences CEO and U.S. cannabis investor Jordan Lewis, the company expansion is expected to increase revenues by the millions.
“Our planned and desired expansion would be about 25 tons next year and that should push us above $100 million in revenue,” Lewis said told Bloomberg.
According to a report released in 2018 by Arcview Market Research in partnership with BDS Analytics, Legal marijuana sales in certain South American market are expected to jump from just $125 million in 2018 to $776 million by 2027.
“While Brazil and Argentina will far outweigh other countries in terms of spending, Uruguay is the clear leader in early liberalization of its cannabis regulations,” the report said. “Any adult citizen/legal resident of Uruguay can now legally purchase cannabis from pharmacies at government-controlled prices intended to undercut illicit market rates and starve out cartel operations there.”
Despite getting a head start in terms of legalization, Uruguay’s weed economy hasn’t fully developed.
Uruguay had a head start in terms of the legalization of marijuana compared to countries like the U.S. and Canada. But that hasn’t translated into a profitable economic source for the country.
Instead, various investors have tapped money into the U.S. and Canada in hopes of taking advantage of the relaxed marijuana regulations the countries now have. The inflow of investment in those countries has created a very promising legal marijuana market that comes after the drug was vilified for decades.
Uruguay hopes to see this type of revenue flow as Fotmer Corporation SA, Silverpeak’s subsidiary headquartered in Uruguay, has asked the country’s cannabis regulatory agency Ircca, to increase its allowed annual production to 400 tons of cannabis plants.
There are a handful of companies that have invested in Uruguay by building greenhouses and extraction laboratories. They have done this in order to supply medical marijuana to other countries in Latin America Canada and in Europe.
With enough investment and support, Uruguay could become one of the world’s leading medical marijuana producers.
Since 2015, Ircca has approved cannabis projects that are worth $57 million and is currently looking at other permits for 21 projects worth approximately $40 million. Their goal is to increase the number of licensed marijuana producers that supply recreational weed to pharmacies from two to as many as five by the end of the year.
By the current pace of investments in Uruguay, all this numbers might change as U.S. and Canadian cannabis producers start to look at the country as a pot destination.If there is enough government support, Uruguay could become the first country to reach $1 billion in annual medical marijuana exports in as soon as five years.
Lewis says that based on early projections, Uruguay’s cannabis industry could become a $100-million-plus industry as soon as 2020. Either way, the country of 3.4 million people is sure to reek some of the benefits of what is expected to bring a millions of dollars in revenue.