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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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Israel Rabbi Says Marijuana ‘Kosher’ if Medicinal

Marijuana is not milk or dairy; it is not an animal whose kashrus is questionable. Rabbis have ruled it’s not kosher to take drugs to escape the world, but one rules “grass” for medical purposes is kosher.
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Legalizing marijuana in Israel would wipe out the black market and generate huge tax revenues, according to a a new study.

Legalizing marijuana in Israel would wipe out the black market and generate huge tax revenues, according to a a new study.



An Israeli Orthodox rabbi ruled that distributing and smoking medicinal marijuana is kosher, but using weed for fun is forbidden.

Ephraim Zalmanovich, the rabbi of Mazkeret Batia, a town south of Tel Aviv, made the distinction in a recent halachic ruling, NRG, the news site of the Maariv daily reported on Friday. Leading rabbis frequently weigh in on matters of reconciling halacha, or Jewish law, with modern living.

Rabbi Zalmanovich’s ruling modifies an opinion by Rabbi Chaggai Bar Giora, who in March told Israel’s Magazin Canabis, “If you smoke it, there is no problem whatsoever.”

Rabbi Zalmanovich, the author of a book on alcoholism in Judaism, said, “Taking drugs to escape this world in any excessive way is certainly forbidden.”

However, if the drug is administered to relieve pain, then the person giving it is “performing a mitzvah,” and the person using the drug is using it “in a kosher fashion.”

Approximately 11,000 Israelis use medicinal marijuana, including people with post-traumatic disorders and Parkinson’s disease, according to the Israeli health ministry.

JTA

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