"I receive grass as a medication. The shmitta year will begin in four months, and observant IDF disabled veterans have been asking themselves whether the grass should be grown differently [during the shmitta year] like fruits and vegetables [are to avoid the shmitta restrictions],” a disabled IDF veteran asked the Chief Rabbinate – which passed the question off to Zionist Orthodox rabbis to answer.
Zionist Orthodox Rabbis: Medical Marijuana Use Okay During Shmitta, Recreational Use Forbidden At All Times
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Is it permitted to use marijuana in a shmitta year, the last year of the seven-year repeating cycle the Bible orders that all land in Israel must lie fallow and not be cultivated or farmed?
That is the question a Zionist Orthodox IDF veteran who suffers from shell shock and PTSD asked Israel’s haredi-controlled Chief Rabbinate, Ynet reported.
"I receive grass as a medication. The shmitta year will begin in four months, and observant IDF disabled veterans have been asking themselves whether the grass should be grown differently [during the shmitta year] like fruits and vegetables [are to avoid the shmitta restrictions],” the man asked the Chief Rabbinate, which referred the question to Zionist Orthodox rabbis to answer.
Most of the Zionist Orthodox rabbis asked replied that because the marijuana is used as a medication and not as food, patients can consume or smoke it without worry.
A general halakhic concept is that medications and other things needed to sustain life or prevent suffering are permitted, even if cultivated or harvested during shmitta, or even if they contain non-kosher ingredients or are in fact wholly non-kosher.
For example, if doctors believed a patient needed to eat pork chops to reduce serious pain or heal from a significant illness, the patient would be required under most understandings of halakha (Jewish law) to eat them.
However, rabbis usually ask that medically approved substitutes lacking all or most of these problems be used if they don’t endanger or hurt the patient and if physicians agree to the substitution.
But what about using marijuana for purely recreational purposes? Is that permitted during shmitta? Afterward?
The Zionist Orthodox rabbis unanimously ruled that is forbidden at all times.
"It’s like asking if one can drive 300 kilometers per hour on Shabbat," said Rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich, the chief rabbi of the small Israeli town of Mazkeret Batya.