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Ultra-Orthodox rabbi declares medical marijuana kosher for Passover

By Ben Hooper
Ultra-Orthodox rabbi declares medical marijuana kosher for Passover
An ultra-Orthodox rabbi considered to be an authority on Jewish law declared medical marijuana kosher for Passover. Screenshot: Cannabis Israel/YouTube

BNEI BRAK, Israel, April 22 (UPI) -- An ultra-Orthodox rabbi announced an addition to the list of substances approved as kosher for Passover: medical marijuana.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a Belarusian rabbi living in Bnei Brak, Israel, responded to a question from pro-marijuana group Siach with a confirmation that medical marijuana is kosher to be smoked or eaten during the eight-day Passover festival, which has its own set of dietary rules.

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Kanievsky is widely considered to be the current leading authority on ultra-Orthodox Halakha, or Jewish law.

A video posted to YouTube by the pro-marijuana group Cannabis Israel shows Kanievsky and Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein declaring some marijuana leaves to have a "healing smell" and saying a blessing over the plant.

Rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich of Mazkeret Batya, Israel, said in 2013 that smoking medicinal marijuana is kosher, but recreational use of the plant is not allowed.

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