Not taking into account Dina D'malchusa, what are the Halachic problems with smoking marijuana? Is it allowed?
Igros Moshe has a tshuva regarding smoking Marijuana. He forbids it for several reasons:
He finishes off that it is a clear-cut prohibition.
R' Adin Even-Yisrael (Steinsaltz) wrote what the Lubavitcher Rebbe told him in a private audience about drugs. He said that the whole point of the Torah is for one to be a master over himself. Drugs (as well as other addictive and psychoactive substances) make themselves the master over him.
Even though one could say that bread is also psychoactive, yet drugs are worse, as they are addictive. Once one is addicted, it's almost impossible to quit.
Reb Moshe answers NO you may not smoke marijuana Here are the list of his reasons:
Firstly like the Ben Sorer Umoreh the rebellious son. A Ben Sorer Umoreh steals meat and wine and scarfs it down. He is addicted to physical pleasures, he will come to do anything to support his habit robbing and killing too. In order to prevent this we kill him before it happens. Drugs go under the same spectrum, that is the people who use the drugs usually become strongly addicted and to maintain their habit might come to the same unethical behaviors so plainly the reasoning would make marijuana use non Hallachic.
Second, drugs are unhealthy like regular smoking so "Nishmartem Linafshsechem".
A third thing Reb Moshe brings that drugs cause a lack of concentration, thereby ruining one Concentration by Teffilah and ability to learn Torah.
Fourth most parents disagree with the behavior, so drug use violates the commandment to "Honor ones father and mother."
Fifth the Torah says Kedoshim Tihiyu this means there should be a degree of separation from excessive pleasures. Drugs definitely fall under this prohibition so all these reasons leads Reb Moshe to the conclusion that marijuana use is against Halacha.
Many US states, Canada, Israel, and other countries worldwide, allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
For a detailed list of several nations' cannabis policies, including for medical use, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_cannabis
The benefits of marijuana for people with a range of chronic (pun intended) illnesses are numerous: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/03/05/health/cbsdoc/main4844665.shtml
Furthermore, part of R' Moshe Feinstein's answer is predicated on family being ashamed of you for smoking. If a person (G-d forbid) had cancer, or any other serious illness, and smoking marijuana helped ease their suffering, regain appetite, and contribute to their recovery - no one would be ashamed.
Based on all of this, and absent any specific prohibition in Torah, I would say that, according to halacha, one may smoke marijuana for medicinal reasons, in a jurisdiction where it is legal to do so.
In a jurisdiction where even recreational marijuana use is legal (or at least decriminalized) - it seems to me that the rest of R' Feinstein's answer would apply to any intoxicating and/or inebriating substance.
So, to whatever extent one is allowed to consume hard liquor in halacha, one ought to be able to consume marijuana - again, IF you are in a jurisdiction that allows it.
It seems that HaRav Musafi Shelit"a (Q&A 57,505) says that it isn't Asur, rather just not a proper thing to do.
Not a drug
First of all, we are not arguing about a drug. It was given that name by modern society. Is a plant made by G-d to be a food for us:
Another point (and this is why I agree with those who ask for newer sources): Giving yourself extra cravings, if it is not permitted when it comes to marijuana, is also not permitted when it comes to alcohol, tobacco, cholesterol, candies, soda, etc. More people die due to the things I just mentioned than due to marijuana. Following this logic, nobody should ever eat a large greasy meal and soda and, if someone does, he is going brutally against the Torah. Giving candies to children would also be wrong.
Others say that marijuana makes people lazy. There are many kinds of marijuana. There are also many kinds of people. Some kinds of marijuana make some people lazier. But some kinds make some people less angry. And is not necessary to talk about how harmful anger is:
If you know that marijuana makes you uncontrollably lazy, you should stop using it, just as you would if you got uncontrollable anxiety from drinking coffee, because we should avoid the yetzer and his traps.
Nothing is perfect. You always will have a yetzer for something in your life but “eize hu gibor, hakovesh et itzro” (avot). Also, there are many different kinds of marijuana. One can make you lazier; another can make you creative, happy, euphoric, etc.
If the smoke is the problem, you can always include marijuana in cooking instead. If the marijuana itself is the problem, a medical opinion would be appropriate.
It is Asur. One can bring many sources for this Issur. I would go as far to say that is an Issur Hamur MeDorayta. The Gemara in Erubin basically says that one is forbidden from getting drunk in public because of Hilul Hashem.
If Marijuana allows you to open up your mind to ideas and perceptions in ways that you can't accomplish consciously and soberly, imagine how many new views and perspectives we will have toward G-d, religion, Torah, Talmud, etc. Just a thought.
protected by Shmuel Brin Jan 1 '12 at 3:59
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