An Orthodox rabbi in Israel has determined that smoking and distributing medicinal marijuana is kosher, but using it recreationally is “forbidden,” Ma’ariv reported Friday.
Efraim Zalmanovich, the rabbi of Mazkeret Batia, a town south of Tel Aviv, made the halakhic ruling recently, saying: “Taking drugs to escape this world in any excessive way is certainly forbidden.”
However he concluded if the drug is administered to relieve pain, then the person supplying it is “performing a mitzvah,” and the person using the drug is using it “in a kosher fashion.”
According to the Israeli health ministry, some 11,000 Israelis use medicinal marijuana.
According to The Times of Israel, Health Minister Yael German said in a recent Knesset meeting that Israel distributes more medical marijuana than any European country.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, “Israel distributes nearly 880 pounds (400 kilograms) of cannabis per month,” she said. “The Netherlands in comparison only provides — 330 pounds (150 kilograms) — per year.”