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Medical Marijuana Is Deemed Kosher

An Israeli Orthodox Rabbi declares MMJ okay under Jewish law, but smoking it for fun is forbidden.

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Rabbi Zalmanovic blesses MMJ. Photo via

By May Wilkerson

07/02/13

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God smiles upon Jews' marijuana use, as long as it's medical, according to a religious ruling by a prominent orthodox rabbi. Rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich, from the Israeli town of Mazkeret Batya, declared that marijuana is kosher if it is prescribed to cure a disease or alleviate pain and suffering. However, smoking pot solely to get high or to experience a "similar feeling solely for pleasure" is forbidden. "Taking drugs to escape this world in any excessive way is certainly forbidden," said Rabbi Zalmanovich, who has also written extensively about alcoholism and Judaism. "However, if the drug is administered to relieve pain, then the person giving it is performing a mitzvah [a good deed commanded by faith]." The new ruling was meant to clarify a recent comment by a representative of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, who told an Israeli cannabis magazine that “If you smoke [pot], there is no problem whatsoever.” More than 11,000 Israelis are currently prescribed medical marijuana to treat pre approved health ailments including Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, ALS and Multiple Sclerosis, according to the Israeli Health Ministry. Israel distributes more legal marijuana per capita than any other European country—approximately 880 pounds of cannabis per month, compared to only 330 pounds per year in The Netherlands.

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