Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Smoking Weed Is Kosher, Says Israeli Rabbi

Efraim Zalmanovich notes that using weed to relieve pain is done in ‘a kosher fashion’

By: Daniel Koren

Published: June 28th, 2013 in News » Israel

Smoking Weed Is Kosher, Says Israeli Rabbi

Efraim Zalmanovich, an Israeli Orthodox rabbi, has ruled that, while using weed for recreational purposes was ‘forbidden,’ the distribution and smoking of medicinal marijuana, however, is 100% pareve.

Zalmanovich, rabbi of a southern Tel Aviv town, Mazkeret Batia, made the distinction in a recent halakhic ruling, NRG, according to Israeli newspaper Maariv.

Like many other rabbis, Zalmanovich joins a lengthy debate on modern day issues, like the legalization of marijuana, integrated into matters pertaining to religious Jewish law.

Just a few months ago in March, Rabbi Hagai Bar Giora of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate told the Israeli pot-culture magazine, Canabis, that ‘if you smoke it, there is no problem whatsoever.’

And who said religious people didn’t know how to party?

Zalmanovich obviously takes a stricter approach to the matter. By no means can a religious Jew take drugs to ‘escape this world,’ he explained. However, when one administers marijuana to relieve pain, that person is performing a mitzvah, according to Zalmanovich. In that case, the person consuming pot is using it “in a kosher fashion.”

According to Israel’s Health Ministry, approximately 11,000 Israelis use medicinal marijuana, including people with posttraumatic disorders and Parkinson’s disease.

Israel currently distributes more medical marijuana than any other European nation.

“Israel distributes nearly 880 pounds (400 kilograms) of cannabis per month,” said Health Minister Yael German. “The Netherlands in comparison only provides a small portion — 330 pounds (150 kilograms) — per year.”

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