It's Not Really a Big Deal That Cannabis Is Kosher For Passover - Here's Why
Posted on April 25 2016
This week is passover, the Jewish celebration of the exodus from Egypt, reminding them how far they have come since slavery and persecution 5,000 years ago in ancient times.
It was big news that a rabbi in Israel had announced that cannabis was kosher for passover last week. I'm going to tell you why, although it was across the front pages of many news sites, that kosher for passover cannabis really isn't a big deal (or even really a thing). I'll preface this with that although I am Jewish, and have a decent grasp of Jewish dietary laws, I am not a rabbi and thus this is my own take on things.
First of all, what is 'kosher' anyway? Something being Kosher means it follows the Jewish dietary rules of Kashrut, which are numerous. Kosher for passover means that something is allowed to be eaten during passover, which lasts 8 days. Leavened bread products, grains and legumes are all not allowed to be eaten during passover. If something is kosher for passover, it means that it has been certified as not one of these products. These products are known as ‘kitniyot’ and it is this that cannabis has apparently been classed as to make it kosher for passover.
The problem is, that cannabis is neither a grain or a legume and has never traditionally been a part of a Jewish diet, so there would be no laws on its use, passover or not. There are rules against using cannabis and other drugs to ‘escape the world’ in Judaism, hence why lately, cannabis is only kosher for passover for medical use, and not as a recreational drug.
Cannabis however, not being ‘kitniyot’ would have been kosher for passover regardless, as long as it was used for medical use. The cannabis community got very happy with the news that cannabis was now supposedly kosher for passover, when anyone who had ever bothered to ask a rabbi before would have gotten the same answer. Cannabis has always been kosher for passover, because no one has ever said you’re not allowed to use it.
So next time the news gets a bit jumpy on the fact that an obscure eastern European rabbi has said cannabis is ok, it’s probably best to check whether there was ever any issue with it in the first place.