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Is it halachically possible to use marijuana as B'Samim for Havdallah? I am under the impression that most anything can be used as B'Samim (though the tradition are cloves because they were readily available). So, by this extension, is it conceivable of using marijuana for B'Samim?

Obviously I mean qua havdallah, which does not take into consideration marijuana as being assur for use for reasons like dina d'malchuta dina.

  • I can't see why it would be a problem qua Havdala. – Double AA Mar 8 '15 at 2:04
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    Does marijuana smell pleasant similar to spices? – Yoni Mar 8 '15 at 3:15
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    Also: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/52709/1713 – Daniel Mar 8 '15 at 4:07
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    @Daniel I'm inclined to think this question is essentially a duplicate of that one. – Fred Mar 8 '15 at 6:33
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    @SAH Hm... I don't know too many people to ask about the metzius in this case, but I appreciate your point. All I know is that when I smell it coming from my neighbors, I and (I think) all my friends in the area have thought it to be terrible smelling – הנער הזה Mar 9 '15 at 11:36
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Another question on this site asks about whether or not one makes a bracha of marijuana. Most people who I've spoken to have told me that it smells terrible, or at least the smell is not pleasant in and of itself. (This is also the conclusion of this author , and one paper for the journal of clinical psychology assumes that it's reasonably close to the smell of burning hair, which is terrible). Therefore, smelling marijuana would not warrant a bracha whatsoever (see Aruch Hashulchan O.C. 216:4).

While it's true that any pleasant smelling thing can be used for besamim, it must be something pleasant smelling, and must require a bracha (see Shulchan Aruch O.C. 491:1). This is not true of marijuana, and so, IMHO, it cannot be used for havdalah.

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    I can assure you from experience that at least some marijuana smells pleasant. – msh210 Mar 8 '15 at 20:04
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    +1 my personal experience of second hand stink from the neighbors is to equate the smell with that of skunk. – user6591 Mar 8 '15 at 20:16
  • @msh210 and you're sure it's from the marijuana itself, and not from added scents/chemicals? – הנער הזה Mar 8 '15 at 20:20
  • @Matt, no, I don't know at all. But the question above didn't specify additive-free marijuana. – msh210 Mar 8 '15 at 20:31
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    @msh210 even so, if you follow the link or the reference to Aruch Hashulchan, you'll find that scented marijuana is equally invalid (at least based on my info) – הנער הזה Mar 8 '15 at 20:38
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Shulchan Aruch 216,1 writes that one can make a bracha only on pleasant aromas.

There is some question as to whether the smell of marijuana is particularly pleasant (both fresh or burnt) and this may depend on the particular variety. Many describe it as skunk like or reminiscent of body odor and, if so, it cannot be used for besamim.

If the smell is pleasant there is an additional potential issue whether one can make a beracha of besamim on items that are not produced for smelling. See Chazon Ish 35,5 and Biur Halacha 216,14 ד"ה המריח and earlier ד"ה ולא נתכוון

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    Your link implies some people like the smell, actually. – Double AA Mar 8 '15 at 4:25
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    Can you source that things whose smell is "not particularly pleasant" cannot be used for besamim? – Double AA Mar 8 '15 at 4:25
  • 1) I read somewhere that there is an opinion that "kneh bosem" is cannabis (presumably due to similar sound). I don't know whether there is hard evidence one way or the other. 2) At least as far as the ktoret was concerned, there were unpleasant smelling items included. – Epicentre Mar 8 '15 at 4:54
  • @Epicentre re 1 that was almost certainly meant only as a pun – Double AA Mar 8 '15 at 5:02
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The halacha depends on whether it is used for consumption ie. Smoked, eaten or sold (if legal) as opposed to smell. The bracha is only said on things that are set aside to be smelled. Thus someone working in a spice store need not make a bracha on the spices that he is selling since those spices are for business and not smell.

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