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Cannabis gets a kosher stamp from Conservative rabbis

A recent vote found overwhelming halachic support for medical marijuana—and narrower, qualified support for recreational use.
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A menorah with marijuana leaves instead of candles

Conservative rabbis have approved the use of marijuana (Illustration: The Jewish Independent)

Published: 22 February 2024

Last updated: 21 March 2024

A recent vote found overwhelming halachic support for medical marijuana—and narrower, qualified support for recreational use.

The Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards—which sets halachic (Jewish law) policy for affiliated rabbis and the Conservative/Masorti movement worldwide—has issued a teshuva (responsum) approving the use of marijuana.

The ruling called “Medical and Recreational Cannabis Usage” declared medical marijuana justified under the principle of protecting life and health, with a vote of 19-1.

Recreational use was more controversial but passed 9-6, with five abstentions. The ruling addressed required that usage is deemed safe and permitted by civil law, and addressed related issues including the dangers of smoking, consumption by youth, consumption in an official Jewish communal context, consumption on fast days, and the blessing required for eating hash cookies or other edible forms of the drug.

The Conservative movement's move to rule on the drug was prompted by the increasing number of countries allowing cannabis use. “Until recently there was no point of talking about cannabis because it was illegal,” said Rabbi Elliot Dorff, rector and distinguished service professor of philosophy at the American Jewish University. “But now that many [countries] have approved cannabis, including Israel, it’s important to understand what Jewish tradition says to us. Just because something is permitted in civil law doesn’t mean that Jewish law should allow it.”

Dissenting rabbis expressed concern about the possibility of cannabis triggering psychosis and said marijuana could not be approved without labelling laws and knowledge of safe levels of use.


The Conservative movement moves on Cannabis (Tablet)


  • Avatar of John Lazarus

    John Lazarus17 April at 02:52 am

    What is the Jewish blessing required for eating hash cookies?

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