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Jun 30, 2013

Interest Psak: Kashrus of Medical Marijuana

According to Rav Efraim Zalminovitch, the Chief Rabbi of Mazkeret Batya, has paskened that medical marijuana is kosher. He qualifies his ruling by stating that it is only kosher when used for medical purposes, to relieve pain, but not when used for recreational use.

I did not even realize it was a question. After all, medical marijuana is an herb, naturally grown with no ingredients that require kashrut supervision. One can debate the permissibility of certain uses of marijuana, but the kashrus of it should not be a matter of question. I'd think. And I also would have thought that the medical usage of it would not be under question, as most things are allowed when there is a medical need with no equivalent alternative.

Rav Zalminovitch himself has said in the past that giving medical marijuana to a suffering patient is a mitzva, but now he has added that the medical marijuana is kosher for medical use, though it is "treif" for recreational use. The only time it is kosher is for medical use and upon instruction from a doctor..

Rav Zalminovitch also called upon Chairman of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein and Minister of Justice Tzippi Livni to give a clear allowance for medical marijuana as an official pharmaceutical drug.

Like MK Moshe Feiglin who made medical marijuana one of his prime issues after realizing how effective it is at reducing the pain and suffering in a way that conventional drugs do not, Zalminovitch also came to the recognition after personal experience - with his ill mother.
(source: NRG)

I think "kosher" and "treif" are the wrong words to use. The correct words should probably be kept in the realm of "muttar" and "assur" - "permitted" and "prohibited". I also think the marijuana use, not abuse but use, is far less dangerous than things like alcohol - and if alcohol or smoking are allowed than marijuana use (not abuse) should definitely be allowed.

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  1. Using "kosher" and "treif" instead of "mutar" and "assur" is only a slight broadening of the terms. As we use it, "kosher" really means "mutar to eat". Likewise for "treif" (in the colloquial sense of the word, not the technical definition of a "treifa"). The use of "kosher" in this psak merely alters the term to mean "mutar to ingest".

  2. Contrary to what you might think, weed and cigarettes are not pure dried leaves, so they definitely need a hechsher. Around Pesach this year, Dubek managed to get a hechsher on four of their brands, and also it was publicized that many other cigarettes may contain chametz, and beyond any doubt the American brands have chametz making it issur to enjoy during Pesach. Then Dubek managed to squeeze its way into some sati-leumi parsha pages that normally have some morals. Maybe Shabat bShabato will advetise medical doobie?

  3. but cigarettes have additives, and I imagine that is why a hechsher for pesach was needed - to ensure the additives are ok. also, with pesach people might wonder whether there are kitniyot issues... certification is definitely more understandable regarding pesach, and regarding cigarettes that have additives


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