Rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich, a prominent orthodox Israeli rabbi, has issued a religious ruling declaring that medical marijuana is kosher.
In his statement, Zalmanovich said that a religious Jew may use marijuana if it is prescribed for pain or to treat symptoms, an assertion that makes smoking medical marijuana a religious commandment.
Zalmanovich clarified that smoking marijuana for the high or as a crutch is forbidden under religious law, just as alcohol is forbidden under the same conditions.
Those who drink socially often cite Zalmanovich’s rulings as religious law and as a way to justify consuming alcohol.
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“Taking drugs to escape this world in any excessive way is certainly forbidden,” Zalmanovich said. “However, if the drug is administered to relieve pain, then the person giving it is performing a mitzvah.”
In the Jewish faith, mitzvah is a good deed one must collect to enter heaven.
Israel distributes 880 pounds of cannabis each year, according to the Israeli Health Ministry, where it is already widely accepted. The country distributes even more than the Netherlands, where only 330 pounds are delivered each year.
In Israel, it is legal to prescribe medical marijuana for Parkinson’s Disease, Cancer, Chronic Pain, Multiple Sclerosis and a collection of thirty other health ailments. Some 11,000 Israelites are users of medicinal marijuana.