Oct 28, 2016 12:00 PM

Orthodox Rabbis Claim Marijuana Kosher for Passover, Sukkot

The federal authorities still classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug. But Orthodox Jews have a Higher authority to obey.

According to the Israel National News, Orthodox Jewish authorities have declared cannabis kosher for Passover and during the whole year. Another newspaper, Times of Israel, informed people that after sniffing the marijuana leaves, Rabbi Kanievsky and Rabbi Zilberstein marked cannabis a “healing plant” with a smell that cures people. For eight days of the holiday, Jews avoid eating any food that is made with wheat, oats, spelt, barley or rye. In most households, food called “kitniot” is also forbidden. As the marijuana legalization crusade is gaining pace in America, a parallel evolution of attitudes is also taking place among the Orthodox Jews.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was the one who strictly prohibited marijuana. However, it was a long time ago, and in recent years, rabbinic opinions about marijuana have significantly softened.

In January 2016, the Orthodox Union decided to certify medical marijuana as kosher, marking the first remarkable legitimization of the drug in the world of Orthodox Jews.

But the certification related only to the medical use of marijuana, leaving the recreational pot in the gray area.

In 2013, two Israel rabbis allowed the use of cannabis, but while Rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich allowed only medical marijuana consumption, Rabbi Haggai Bar-Giora claimed that smoking weed was permitted in any form, whether it was for medical or recreational use.

This week the supporters of free marijuana use received the endorsement of Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, one of the most famous and respectable haredi rabbinic Israel authorities, according to B’Hadrei Haderim.

When speaking about the possibility of consuming pot during Passover, Rabbi Kanievsky ruled that cannabis was indeed kosher for the holiday. More than that, he also made the recreational use of marijuana permissible. However, the substance is not allowed for Ashkenazi Jews who avoid consuming kitniyot, unless marijuana serves their medical needs.

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