An unusual halachic issue was place of the table of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate recently: Is it permitted to consume marijuana during a Shmittah year – the seventh year in a seven-year cycle during which land in Israel must lie fallow.
The issue does not just apply to drug smokers, but mainly to patients in need of medical cannabis.
“I receive grass as a medication,” explained M., a religious man who suffers from shell shock, in a letter to the Rabbinate. “The Shmittah year will begin in four months, and observant IDF disabled veterans have been asking themselves whether the grass should be grown differently like fruits and vegetables.”
There are several methods to maintain the kashrus of fruits and vegetables which are halachically forbidden during the Shmittah year, but what about marijuana?
The question was referred to rabbis in the Religious Zionism movement, and most of them replied that because it is used as a medication and not as food, patients can continue consuming the plant.
And what about the consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes? The rabbis agreed unanimously that it is forbidden due to the halachic on smoking drugs.
“It’s like asking if one can drive 300 kilometers per hour on Shabbos,” said Efraim Zalmanovich, the rabbi of the central Israeli town of Mazkeret Batya.