Israeli Orthodox Jewish rabbi rules marijuana not kosher

Rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich 
By: David Ross

An Israeli orthodox Jewish rabbi has ruled that marijuana is not allowed to be consumed by kosher consumers unless of course it is for medical purposes, according to a statement released by the rabbi.

Rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich, who is an Orthodox rabbi of the Israeli city of Mazkeret Batia, said last week that the distribution and smoking of marijuana is kosher, provided it is for medical purposes.

Recreational use is another issue, according to Zalmanovich.
"The use of the drug to escape this world is definitely forbidden," Zalmanovich said.
The rabbi's comments are the first by a Jewish religious leader about the substance.

The ruling of Zalmanovich closely follows a ruling by Rabbi Hagai Bar Giora, who is the head of kitchens, bakeries and factories catering events in the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Rabbi Hagai Bar Giora told Israel Cannabis Magazine in March: "If you smoke it for medical purposes, there is no problem at all."

Although marijuana is currently illegal under Israeli law, the country's health ministry has issued medical marijuana permits for some patients. Officials said that the number of people who received permits for cannabis reached about 11,000 this year. Government officials said that they plan to tighten the application process. The pro-marijuana activists are pushing for greater acceptance of the drug.