Legalizing Marijuana

Why I think this is a terrible idea.

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Comments (52)

(38) Beverly Margolis-Kurtin, January 10, 2015 1:22 AM


Please, tell that to the doctors in Israel who are using the drug for medicinal purposes. You are looking at this from a traditional "Reefer Madness" point of view.
Have you bothered to watch the program "Weed" by Sanjay Gupta? He had the same view as you do, he has been proven wrong as I hope you permit yourself to become.
I have CHRONIC PAIN. My doctors have failed to give me even one ounce's worth of relief.
Currently, I am on Methadone, a drug that has a bad reputation for being used by people who have misused drugs in the past. In my case, however, I am using it to control the incredible pain of neuropathy in my feet. It was caused by another drug, Dilantin, which is used to control grand mal seizures. My neurologist kept me on it too long and now I have to live with his error for the rest of my life.
I have osteoarthritis which is causing my spine to shrink due to the loss of cartilage between the vertebrae. FIVE PAIN SPECIALISTS have told me that if it were legal, they would prescribe medical marijuana for me. But I live in one of the most backward states in the union: Texas. It will never be approved for medical use.
Since NO DRUGS have worked on the pain in my back--not even oxycontin, morphine, short, NOTHING has worked, I've got three options.
1. Suicide 2. Medical marijuana 3. Spinal stimulation
Suicide is not even a thought, I love life too much. Medical marijuana, although PROVEN BY DOCTORS IN ISRAEL to be useful in controlling pain and even in curing some forms of cancer, I will have to undergo spinal stimulation which will require surgical implantation if a trial time works,
So let me ask you this: Since EXPERTS in their field think that medical marijuana works, who are YOU to say it doesn't?
I agree that youngsters should not have access to it unless it is the CBD form. Young people should be able to leave good lives, yes?

(37) sonia, January 7, 2015 9:31 PM

It's a substance that makes you unhappy

Marihuana is a substance that attacks your neural cellas, your memory, neuromuscular coordination, but avobe all, takes off your capacity to feel happiness... unless you take a little high... again. It rubs off your life. You can smoke a whole package of cigarrettes and study and work. And maybe get cancer at 60. Smoke 20 joints in a day.. .and you'll end in hospital. The problem is, there's a huge money sign behind legalization. Some people see great profit in legal marihuana, even the New York Times had an article about it. And we see young peolpe get killed every weekend because of alcohol and drugs... I agree with you. For a start, I don't vote candidates that support legal marihuana, and I say it in my Facebook page. Tats on thing we can do.

(36) Anonymous, January 7, 2015 5:25 PM

See report by CNN on World's first fully approved cannabis drug.

For everyone's better understanding of Cannabis, see this site for more facts about the drug. And be sure to see the comments at the bottom of that page too.

Also, realize that the strongest alternative non-Cannabis legal drugs currently prescribed for some health conditions today, (for example extreme pain, seizures, "spasticity" or very tight cramping that does not stop for months or ever and let the body part straighten out), are either less or completely non-effective for relief of the health problem. And those prescribed drugs can be extremely addictive and more damaging to one's health, especially when you consider many of these heath problems are chronic and would otherwise require very potent drugs taken multiple times a day for the rest of one's life. Cannabis, while still a drug, is much safer and actually works much of the time.

(35) Anonymous, January 7, 2015 4:26 PM


We should be more worried about junking up kids with Ritalin and other ADD drugs just so they can sit (forced to sit) and learn Torah. I would love to see the reports and statistics on the 'biochemical' problems marijuana causes.

Anonymous, January 7, 2015 8:37 PM

To commenter #35 anonymous

Please get your facts straight regarding Ritalin and other ADD drugs. For children and adults with an ADD/ADHD diagnosis, these medications are a lifesaver.

Anonymous, January 12, 2015 4:39 PM

Not against ritalin

(I must state that I'm talking from a jew living in israeli perspective)... the only 'fact' I made was that ritalin and other add drugs (ironically not marajuana) are being abused in the torah world. I said nothing about Ritalin not helping those who NEED it. I know ppl who use Ritalin and it's helped tremendously. However, kids ARE being junked up on a drug whose side effects are lethal (and addictive). This is proven. Ritalin is being used as a quick fix in the torah world so kids can sit and 'learn' Torah all day. (I know bc I'm a parent with kids in the system and an ex educator and a practicing therapist). In times of teaching to tests and holding teachers accountable one can understand why. In some communities in Israel, and I'm sure other low income Torah communities in other parts of the world, white flour and sugar are staples. Tasty and affordable. My son for Rosh chodesh was given a chocolate white bread sandwich with sprinkles and a glass of coke for school lunch. He was 4. Please Aish ha Torah do a video on Ritalin, and stay away from putting down marajuana, well at least until there are some hard facts that suggest otherwise.

(34) SusanE, January 7, 2015 3:54 AM

Bourbon Works too, but Isn't the Answer.

My friend had Parkinsons. A bourbon and Coke would stop the tremors. She had wonderful drugs to help with her disease but they don't work 100% and in time would be ineffective, requiring higher dosages. Bourbon was legal and she didn't have a drinking problem. The alcohol quieted that part of her brain. But just stopping the tremors isn't the answer and neither is Marijuana. She had the surgery on both sides of her brain with the electrical implants that block the brain waves. Those worked so that the drugs she had to take were minimal and therefore could be used over a longer period of time.

(33) Anonymous, January 6, 2015 11:11 PM

Clarification regarding driving while "under the influence".

To reassure everyone, driving "under the influence" is already illegal. Surprisingly, that law does not just mean alcohol or illegal drugs. The law also includes properly taken legal drugs, such as over the counter allergy medicine, pain relievers as benign as aspirin, and prescribed drugs from one's doctor, etc. To drive with any of that in your system is illegal, and will get you a DUI (Driving under the influence) citation and consequences. In my state, if you are found to have any medicine, etc, in your system while driving, you can be arrested, and your vehicle taken away and sold (the money does not go to you). Surprising but true. So, just think of how many of us have driven "under the influence" already? And ignorance of the law does not get you out of the trouble. So, marijuana use and driving is already illegal.

(32) Amos Irwin, January 6, 2015 8:22 PM


Dear Rabbi,
Thank you for making this video. My question is: should we also be thinking about making alcohol and tobacco illegal? As you said, the Torah says we need to "guard our health," and those are both terrible for our health-- in fact, they certainly kill more people than marijuana. Do you support making them illegal? Why or why not? Thank you for your leadership on this issue!
Best wishes,

GeeM, January 7, 2015 9:39 AM

This video is another small minded speil from a nonuser with almost no background in the decades of specific research that shows CLEARLY marijuana is a benign substance that MANY want to use to improve their lives.
In the entire history of all things, NO ONE has EVER died from any dose of Marijuana...EVER!
And of course the vid hints at dander and even death...a lie is a lie no matter how good tha intentions.
The foremost and respected research for decades now has been an Israeli institute that has been documenting the medical attributes of Cannibis...for a fact a paste made from a crude Marijuana extract gave a tiny girl suffering from Epilectic seizures up to 50 a day a new life with one or 2 a month!!!
Many things are helped by marijuana, a non-addictive herb that is also FUN to use!
I have been from Afghanistan to Central America in my time, I have smoked cannibus in many forms, and living in Colorado I can use (or not) without fear of JAIL! If for nothing else, let others have the freedom you expect with Alcohol and prescription drugs (Valium, Ambian, Percoset,etc) to choose my way to live.
The word "fuddy-duddy" comes to mind after listening to the slanted "facts" presented in this video.
For shame! 4:20!

(31) Anonymous, January 6, 2015 1:31 PM

I agree 100%. Thank you SO much for posting this!

(30) Anonymous, January 6, 2015 5:08 AM

medical marijuana worse than Oxycontin or Morphine?

I agree that medical marijuana is not the same as using it for recreation. Why is using marijuana for medical purposes, which may or may not be addictive, worse than the prescribed pain killers, Oxycontin, an opiate, of morphine, which are definitely very addictive?

(29) Yehoshua, January 5, 2015 11:26 PM

Please get the facts straight!

Israel is on the front line of research for medical cannabis. Where it's administered at old age home with great success. The US gov. has a patent on it for medicine.(how can they patent a plant?!) So unless you get incentives from pharmaceutical companies who will lose money... I suggest you do your research! It's also mentioned in the Mishnah... Cannabis incense after benching in Babylon! The problem with prohibition is there's no quality control. And no assay report. The Jewish religion is pro life. If pig fat had medicinal value the sick could use it. Cannabis was in the Ketoret and annointing oil. Everything you say Rabbi is wrong! Cannabis can be used to treat drug addicts, including cannabis users, with high CBD strains. Jewish doctors are the best researchers on cannabis. What happened to the Rabbi's?!!! Have you watched 'Run from the cure' by Rick Simpson? Don't believe me... Just do some research on Thoses who are healing with this amazing plant! It can save your life.

(28) Menashe K, January 5, 2015 10:19 PM

Medical Marijuana in Australia

I think we need some clarification from you Rabbi.

What do you think about the medical use of marijuana?

One of the people who have commented on this issue is Simcha who said
" On the first issue, I say that it should be treated as any other regulated drug. If a qualified medical professional determines that it can be safely used to treat a person’s medical condition, then it should be available as such. Cases of abuse can be handled as they are for the misuse of other controlled substances."

Do you agree Rabbi?

Here in Australia public opinion is changing and there are many people including medical experts that approve of the use of marijuana or a derivative of marijuana for medical reasons.

What about the MS sufferer or PD sufferer should they not seek relief, if their doctor deems it so?

(27) nick, January 5, 2015 4:42 PM

God created all things

We have an indigenous system built into our bodys for the cannaboids found in the cannabis plant. One of the only natural sources of which is cannabis besides that of mother's milk. God created all things, and placed herbs to be used as medicine by man. Our bodies are literally built to receive cannaboids, and current medical research and cutting research in Israel is showing mass medical benefits ranging from diabetes to cancer to Crohn's disease to PTSD, this plant has amazing wonderful benefits and proven very effective fo people with terrible diseases, marijuana has shown to be one of the only things that can help manage their condition, like that of children with severe seizure syndromes. I myself suffer from Crohn's disease, and nothing has worked for my condition to put it in remission. I'm now being told that medical marijuana may be one of the only options I have left to treat this disease effectively. it is extremely ignorant, naive and uncompassionate to deny those suffering from severe illness a God created plant that has been shown to work as medicine for centuries by mankind, was legal for longer in the United States then it has been an illegal, and when you research the history you'll find it was only made illegal for political and racists reasons to promote a bigoted and biased agenda. Marijuana was in the US books of Pharmacology all the way until the forties and was a common medicine. We are supposed to be a free society, and we have no right to dictate to fellow Americans what they should and should not be able to do with their body so long as they fo not harm others based on an opinion rooted in one's religious beliefs. We are a are secular society, and we should embrace religious and independent freedom which includes people having the right to not be dictated to by controlling fellow Americans and government when it comes to their personal body and what they do. it is unconstitutional, and betrays what this country was founded on.

(26) Jarred, January 5, 2015 3:19 PM

Legal pot?

BH. As a former Vet who served in Iraq/Afghanistan, I used pot to cope with PTSD. But then I got wise and consulted my rabbi, my parents, etc. I was fortunate to acquire medical pot because it was legal and my ema's prayers (she was worried that all my service and good citations would be tarnished forever, if I was caught with illegal pot, all the while supportive of my "apparent" need for it). It was their support, their prayers and me "waking" up that kept me from abusing. Had I been told no or it's illegal, things could have turned out different. Rabbi the true war on drugs started with the universal church in 325 CE and that drove us into the Dark Ages. Usually illicit drugs historically have been the entertainment of the elite rich because the poor were too busy working keeping the elite rich. I believe FORBIDDEN things are a curse on society. Just look at Adam and Eve. Once the novelty wears off, most of us use our God given instincts to move on. Hal kol le tova, najon? Let the "weed" weed out those who truly in the end are not good to anything or anyone. Those who belong to H" will survive, those who don't should not survive it. My opinion based on my experiences.

(25) Simcha, January 5, 2015 1:03 PM

Against the Legalization of Marijuana!!!

Rabbi Salomon is absolutely RIGHT!!! I am totally opposed to the legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana and always have been. Thank G-d, at 55 years of age, I am proud to say that I NEVER smoked or tried anything including cigarettes, marijuana or anything else and NEVER got drunk or high on anything. Thank G-d, this is the way I was raised!!! Religiously, I was raised in a traditional conservative home; I became religiously observant at 23 years of age, and ideologically, I was raised in an ultra-conservative home and thank G-d, my parents (may they rest in peace) taught me the dangers of smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages and taught me to have an independent mind, meaning NOT to follow in the footsteps of those who do wrong and to always follow the GOOD crowd. This is also how I raised my children. Thank you Rabbi Salomon for raising the issue because the youngsters MUST know the dangers of smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, marijuana, etc. and the parents as well as the schools have the responsibility of teaching the dangers to their children from a young age.

(24) Anonymous, January 5, 2015 12:17 PM

I am a young Parkinsons sufferer

Please Rabbi I was diagnosed in the my late 40's as having Parkinsons Disease.(PD) unfortunately a few years ago.

The wonderful people and donors and researchers and the Fox Foundation in NY are trying their best as do others to find a cure.
Please G"d we hope and pray there will a cure,

Till then... Myself and other 5 million people suffer from this terrible disease.

I am considered a young PD sufferer, after time the shakes get lezarenu worse,

Many say marijuana is one way to cure the terrible shaking that us PD people have.

Would you deny us a cure even a temporary Refuah?

Please I would like to hear your opinion,

Please don't be too hard on us....
If we need a Refuah and marijuana can help why not?

Doesn't HaShem give the cure before the 'Makkah' the disease?

Incidentally people say that MK Moshe Feiglin's wife also lezarenu is a young PD sufferer and Feiglin is in favor of legalising medicinal marijuana.

Rabbi what do you think?

Can't we use this to help ourselves especially we are many of us in need of a Refuah we're not using the stuff to become high we're using the stuff to stop the shakes etc for Refuah,

I'd love to hear your valued opinion.

SusanE, January 6, 2015 1:59 AM

Bourbon Works too. But is not the Answer.

My friend had Parkinsons. A bourbon and Coke would stop the tremors. She had wonderful drugs to help with her disease but they don't work 100% and in time would be ineffective, requiring higher dosages. Bourbon was legal and she didn't have a drinking problem. The alcohol quieted that part of her brain. But just stopping the tremors isn't the answer and neither is Marijuana. She had the surgery on both sides of her brain with the electrical implants that block the brain waves. Those worked so that the drugs she had to take were minimal and therefore could be used over a longer period of time.

(23) David, January 5, 2015 9:06 AM

There are two issues being discussed here, and they should be treated separately: 1) the use of marijuana as medical therapy, and 2) the use of marijuana for recreation. On the first issue, I say that it should be treated as any other regulated drug. If a qualified medical professional determines that it can be safely used to treat a person’s medical condition, then it should be available as such. Cases of abuse can be handled as they are for the misuse of other controlled substances.
The second issue of recreational use is more complicated, and I am more conflicted. There are philosophical questions (the role of government, limits of personal choice, etc.), practical matters (cost/benefit of law enforcement, impact on productivity, etc.), and personal concerns (criminal record, impact on families of users, etc.). I lean towards a libertarian approach, but I am open to arguments for limitation and moderation.
The only Halachic aspect that Rabbi Salomon raised was the mandate to guard our health. In this discussion, required action appears ambiguous and may differ from person to person. Are there other Jewish arguments to bring to the discussion?

(22) Anonymous, January 5, 2015 1:55 AM

beg to differ

Recreational marijuana NO. Medicinal marijuana yes.
signed, a mother with child that is forced to put her child on much more dangerous medications then marijuana and they still don't work.

(21) Dr Eliana Freydel Miller (BDS), January 5, 2015 1:44 AM

Absolutely agreeing that marijuana should not ever be legalized

Absolutely agreeing that marijuana should not ever be legalized except in the case of the otherwise un treatable Dravet syndrome, childhood epilepsy which should only treated with non smokeable components of marijuana, and perhaps other conditions for which no other alternative can be found, and only in the non smokeable versions and versions which have no psychotrophic(mental) effects, as there are many components of marijuana with different actions on the body. However there are alternatives available now so most often no marijuana is ever needed or used even in its medical form. Marijuana has a destructive effect on society, but people who use it don't share this view for obvious reasons.

(20) Emma, January 4, 2015 11:12 PM

Personal experience (from a legal weed state)

I sympathize with those who genuinely need medical marijuana. I know someone who had unsuccessfully been on and off bipolar medications for many years, but tried weed one day and found it worked perfectly for her. To date, it is the only medication that has consistently produced good results for her without undesirable side effects (as many regular psychiatric medications do).

That being said, most medical marijuana patients are not like her. They are mostly rich bored yuppies who want an excuse to get high. During the "medical marijuana" era there was a whole industry of "doctors" whose entire business revolved around charging large sums of money for green cards. The result was that rich people could go to the doctor and get weed legally for illnesses they didn't even have (and more safely, since medical marijuana is of a much higher quality than a lot of street marijuana), but poor people who genuinely needed help had a high chance of getting arrested and thrown in jail. The racial and economic disparities in the "War on Drugs" should be enough of a reason for it to be eliminated. It's just not possible to respect individual medical needs while applying the law fairly to everyone.

Furthermore, I think a lot of the reason for fears about weed (and its mystique to teens) is precisely because it is illegal. Unfortunately young people become convinced that if the government doesn't want them to do something, there must be some secret benefit to it. Even though it'll be a bumpy road, I believe it was right for my state to legalize weed. There could be huge medical benefits that we are missing out on because we are so afraid of what we don't understand. Illegal weed, without regulation, has seen THC levels increase a huge amount over the years, increasing addictiveness, and street weed is often mixed with other stuff. A legal, regulated industry will be able to encourage manufacturers to create safer, healthier weed accessible to all adults.

(19) Anonymous, January 4, 2015 11:05 PM

Everyone, Please understand for some it is their only hope.

Marijuana should be legal and regulated, like other drugs having benefits and side effects. (By the way, Israel is developing a pill form that removes the hallucinatory side effect, but keeps the pain and nausea relief effect.) The highest suicide rate is for those with Multiple Sclerosis. That's because of the unreal and unbelievable level of emotional and untreatable physical pain that can accompany it. I have MS. I haven't used Marijuana yet, but it's helped many with MS. A few yrs back, I had 20 months of crippling pain (making it absolutely unbearable to stand or walk). That was one thing, BUT the handful of times of 72 hours in a row of absolutely unfathomable pain in my head that no medicine could lessen was quite another! It made it impossible to sleep more than a few minutes here and there throughout the night, or to even THINK ANY THOUGHTS during the day except HOW CAN I MAKE IT STOP! It's one thing when you are virtually paralyzed and need help bathing, getting to a toilet, being hungry until someone gets home to help you. (And not moving is painful too.) But when you can't even THINK about ANYTHING except the nonstop excruciating pain that no pain killers help, even morphine, then one's desire or ability to continue living is SERIOUSLY questioned. What's the point of living like that? The only thing that has helped me not go through with killing myself during those brain attacks is the knowledge that they have not lasted more than 3 days in a row (so far), and that I have children that emotionally still need me (even though they have at times taken more care of me than I could do for them, then), and the KNOWLEDGE THAT IF I CAN NOT BEAR THE PAIN ANY FURTHER, THAT I CAN GET MARIJUANA! And that its controlled more like aspirin thanks to partial legalization so there can be predictable doses and be free of various toxic poisons in it! NOW I CAN HAVE HOPE! Having that level of indefinite nonstop pain with no hope of relieve, is too much to ask of anyone.

(18) Betty G,., January 4, 2015 10:28 PM

Recreational vs. Medical Use

As the Rabbi says, marijuano has biochemical effects on the central nervous system. This is why it is valuable as a scientifically proven medical tool in the treatment of certain diseases. Discussion of marijuana use should always make the distinction between recreational and medical legalization.

(17) Sharon, January 4, 2015 8:05 PM

medical marijuana should be legalized

When I ponder the possibility of becoming ill with cancer or some other painful disease, I imagine that I would try to obtain marijuana, hopefully in a legal manner. Some illnesses are difficult to bear and marijuana is rumored to be helpful, so why not allow for that.

(16) Ed, January 4, 2015 6:24 PM

Prohibition has never worked

It seems strange to me how Rabbi’s will tell of the wonderful qualities of wine (alcohol) its use in blessings etc.
Then condemn the use of a G-d given seed bearing herb (Gen. 1:29) that has many of the same effects as wine on a person but it is something that should not be allowed.
Please tell me where anyone has the authority to prohibit your G-d given right of individual choice?

Because of many problems that alcohol can have on a person. America decided to prohibit alcohol but during the years of prohibition America found out that when a group of people decide that they have a right to tell you what you can eat, drink or smoke regardless of their good intentions people will do as they choose not as they are told!
Prohibition only caused a myriad of more problems organized crime syndicates arose, people being killed over turf the list goes on and on and alas the problems that alcohol can have on someone’s life where not diminished in the least. So they realized that prohibition only caused more problems and helped no one so prohibition was repealed.

Why can you not learn from the past and see that prohibition has never worked to solve the problem’s of addiction!
If an individual has a problem with alcohol or any other drug it is up to that individual to change and only that person can choose to stop. Force or criminalization does not work and never will! It only causes more problems!

Betty G., January 4, 2015 10:25 PM

Prohibiition has never worked

Well said. Additionally, the so-called "War Against Drugs" has been a dismal failure. I don't have answers but I do know that the "War" has, like Prohibiition, created a huge and dangerous criminal network that has destroyed more lives than the drugs.

(15) Sarah, January 4, 2015 6:16 PM

Reconsideration warranted; multiple medicinal benefits of the plant

My condolences and appreciative understanding that mass propaganda has colored views for almost 75 years of US prohibition. Please note how many people are helped by the plant. There is considerable science including multiple studies out of Israel that lead the world pointing us back to the power of the cannabis plant. Look further than the current propaganda. Yes, the branding is further problematic to those of us in the mainstream who do not 'fit' the High Times nor Cheech and Chong 'traditional' portrayals. Do look further. The herb is part of the larger trending Health and Wellness movement. However, children being healed, end-stage (IV) cancer patients exhibiting full recoveries after Cannabis oil treatments to meeting soldiers with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries that have tried everything else including Marinol yet have only experienced relief from ingestion of cannabis - these stories and science all warrant deep reconsideration.

Do take a look in particular at Granny's List - the largest compiled tome of every known MEDICAL article to date on the studies of cannabis. The index alone is worth your time.
Do take time to further investigate and reconsider Rabbi & gentle readers.
Thank you for and from a loyal reader!


(14) sonia macdonald, January 4, 2015 6:12 PM

all wrong

This is not based on fact and is a totally specious argument. I am 82 yrs old & am living proof that this is all wrong.

(13) Anonymous, January 4, 2015 6:03 PM

I think medical marijuana should be legalized. I know it would be good for glaucoma, which I have. I have never smoked it, because it isn't legal.

(12) Anonymous, January 4, 2015 5:56 PM

I strongly disagree. Here's why:

That the government doesn't "police" us from poisoning ourselves only puts the onus on us to be responsible that much more. Why would you want the government to be in charge of what is and is not okay to do? Aren't there many things that are legal but aren't good for us? We don't expect to make them ALL illegal do we? What you're doing is empowering the government to be our Mommies and Daddies to tell us what is and isn't okay. That only makes people less responsible, not more. A free society requires that you tolerate things you don't like and punish only the behavior that impinges on other people's rights.

Chavi, January 4, 2015 6:30 PM

I totally disagree with you, and here's why:

If a person wants to self-destruct, that's his business and government should not necessarily interfere. But if that person is likely to take other people down with him by engaging in dangerous behaviors, then it is the government's responsibility to protect society from that person's dangerous behavior.
Also, young people do not realized the harm they are inflicting on themselves and it is the responsibility of government to protect them from themselves, too.

Adam, January 4, 2015 8:52 PM


Would you support the criminalization of alcohol use?

chavi, January 6, 2015 1:12 AM


Driving while intoxicated is already against the law, for the above-stated reasons.

Adam, January 6, 2015 10:46 PM


Then why not take it a step further? It's the alcohol that's causing the driving dangers and alcohol users can easily cause other danger to people around them. Why not criminalize alcohol entirely? The obvious answer is that, whadya know, this country has tried that before and it didn't work. Why should we assume the case to be different with marijuana criminalization ?

(11) Vera, January 4, 2015 5:38 PM

I am a psychiatrist in Canada - and could not agree with you more! This is an alarming trend, and while it seems innocent - it is not only dangerous for its addictive potential and being an intro drug, it is particularly so with adolescents, as it takes away motivation, which is the most important ingredient in getting ready to face the world. Of course one should also be aware of the fact, why these youngsters turn to it in the first place - and then we have to think about the destruction of family and societal values.

(10) Miriam Cohen, January 4, 2015 5:29 PM

Already is legal

Marijuana is already legal in some of the US. All drugs need to be legalized, just like liquor,will then not be part of the criminal world. Farmers in Afghanistan can go back to farming andfeeding their people. Drug use has been with us for centuries, and will always be there. If legal our jails will be emptier, addicts can get medical help as they should. Sorry Rabbi, you cannot control peoples desires, they need to learn to control themselves.

Anonymous, January 4, 2015 6:35 PM

Legalize ALL drugs?

Then our jails will be emptier? And people will stop stealing, breaking into houses, robbing, because they can buy illegal drugs in stores??
People can buy cars legally but they still steal them. People can get jobs or welfare but they still rob others.
Laws and jails exist to protect us from people who give in to their yetzer hara. That kind of people will always exist until mashiach comes. Hopefully before the year 6,000. May we somehow merit his presence.

(9) Dr.Singh, January 4, 2015 4:55 PM

Availability = use

A sure way to increase the use of something is to make it freely available. Doing that to something that is already addictive is insane!

Anonymous, January 12, 2015 5:47 PM

No evidence

There is no evidence that marajuana is addictive! Please stop.

(8) jjay, January 4, 2015 4:40 PM

medical marajuana should definitely be legalized and treated as any other controled substance. there are people, for example, for whom the nausea of chemotherapy is lessened by marajuana more effectively than it is from other available anti nausea drugs. The assumption that mrajuana will appear in 7/11 stores is baseless. you can't walk into a store and order prozac or valium.

(7) Suzette, January 4, 2015 4:25 PM

We the people are no longer making the laws.

I agree they are trivializing the use of a drug that is known to lead to harder drugs. They are giving people a push to drop out of society. They are devaluing the divinity of the children of the creator. This is going to be horrible. I do not want to work with the pot head and listen to the talk about the drug use of their week. Where do we go for a gentle life a sweet life. Where is the value in this sex and drug led life that is so exposed and over used. Where is the grace and the blessing of the married love life and the glass of wine at dinner. Simple and grace filled instead of hard and ill making.Blessings

(6) Anonymous, January 4, 2015 4:17 PM

Premise is marijauna is to be declared legal for medicinal purposes not recreational purposes

the whole premise is that marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes. There are certain sicknesses that respond better to marijuana as a pain killer than any other substance. You would not be able to get it in a 711. You would need a prescription for it. By the way the same argument is being pushed for medications like oxycontin for MS sufferers which at present is an illegal substance. The relief that people will receive might counterbalance the worry we have for our teenagers. And might I add, that the teenagers who want to use marijuana will get it anyway, and standing outside a 711 is one of the best ways to receive it. The campaign to legalize marijuana is being launched in part by some truly ill people who want the relief from the pain that it affords them. Sad , but true.

(5) Anonymous, January 4, 2015 4:10 PM

Is it REALLY effective to prohibit it?

Actually, the comparison to alcohol IS valid -- we SEE what happens when you try to BAN a substance. Prohibition is likely one of the MAIN factors responsible for the rise of Organized Crime!
In addition, do we RALLY want to "fill our jails" with people who have used "pot"? Is that REALLY going to be effective?
It amkes MUCH more sense to CONTROL the stuff rather than prohibit it...
Right now, DWI enforcement is getting stricter. Companies are CHARGING those employees who smoke EXTRA surcharges because of the associated health costs. Sales of Tobacco to minors is prohibited and SHOULD be STRICTLY enforced.
In addition, the "let's continue to ban pot" most CRUELLY affects the ILL who could BENEFIT from the substance. In NJ, Gov. Christie has done his absolute BEST to make it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get "medical pot" -- THAT is nothing more than an act of unmitigated cruelty... [I sincerely hope that he (or a member of his family) suffers an illness where Medical Pot would help -- and then he should be UNABLE to get it... si that he can experience the suffering and pain that he causes others]
Unfortunately, your message sounds like a "scorched earth" policy to BAN pot... It is my contention that such a policy can not and will not work (but has cost our economy untold MILLIONS in the "war against drugs")...
Please rethink and recalibrate your position.

(4) Alan Brochstein, January 4, 2015 4:09 PM

Have to Disagree

You are speaking with little factual basis in my view. Marijuana may be an issue for some people, like other substances, but it is not "addictive". The vast majority of people use it responsibly. Further, you totally ignore the costs to society of enforcement, including the costs of prosecution and incarceration but the even greater cost of the loss of an individual's ability to contribute to society. This can happen for merely possessing the plant.

With all due respect, your views are antiquated. There is plenty of evidence that cannabis can help people with a variety of ailments, some as serious as seizures, ulcerative colitis, PTSD and many other problems not currently addressed by Big Pharma adequately.

I think that legalization is honest. Without it, people who want to consume it still will, but their supply will be the black market. A regulated environment will better protect the children from access and will also prevent many tragedies that occur due to the lack of regulatory oversight.

I view legalization as a win for everyone. Society benefits greatly because resources are no longer wasted and we get tax revenue that would otherwise be profits that go to illegal black market providers. Consumers are able to access safer substances with more knowledge about the origin of the product. Those with difficult-to-treat medical conditions may find relief. As a rabbi, surely you must understand that the price of some negative outcomes is worth it if it can save a single life. Do some research, and you will see that it can!

I hope in the future that you will not make such bold statements without doing better research. Colorado has not gone to hell in a handbasket. If you want to preach that people shouldn't overindulge in intoxicants, that's your prerogative, but you clearly haven't fully analyzed the situation regarding the legal implications (and you used the word "legal".

(3) Anonymous, January 4, 2015 2:51 PM

Legalizing but controlling how it is used

Rabbi--IMO marijuana should be treated as a controlled substance the way ritalin is. Perhaps a physician/nurse practitioner thinks it is the best way to treat a certain medical condition. If that is the case, then let the practitioner write up a prescription for it. The prescription would have no refills and would need to be hand delivered to one's local pharmacy. Yes, we have already seen the harm it can do when it is abused. However, what I am proposing is the appropriate use of marijuana. Re: Your comments about alcohol. I am 100% against drinking and driving and do not drink at all. However, when alcohol WAS illegal our society saw a lot of criminal activity. Do we really want to turn the clock back to that period of our history? Finally, I agree with the poster who said we can no longer afford to keep people in jail indefinitely for possession of marijuana.

Adam, January 4, 2015 4:27 PM

Not exactly

Rabbi, I wish the situation was as simple as you made it out to be in this video. I wish that there were historical precedents for successful criminalization of psychotropic substances. I wish that the criminalization of alcohol in the 20's would have succeeded in its goals and not turned out to be an utter failure and would have not been the main contributor to a radical rise in crime and alcohol usage during that era. Given the facts of history, though, a controlled legalization seems to be the obvious option. I'd like to ask you one question: would you support the criminalization of alcohol? You say that alcohol is bad. So why not make it illegal to possess or consume? Of course, given the historical example cited above, that would be a bad move. Why should we assume that the case is different for marijuana?

(2) SusanE, January 4, 2015 2:13 PM


I agree. About 55 years ago I heard a Chinese man say on a documentary TV news program. "We will overtake and ruin America. And we will subdue and ruin her from the inside using your own people". I didn't know what he meant but I do now.

Cody Flecker, January 4, 2015 4:58 PM

Everyone who is weak and poor says the same thing.

No one really takes these statements as real fact. Everyone says the same thing about the USA when it comes to "taking us over" The bottom line is that these countries are so low, that all they can do is to look up. The holds true for the State of Israel. Why are there so many countries and people against the only democracy in the Middle East,and why are these same entities so anti semitic? It all has to do with jealousy. The Jewish People rose from the ashes of the Holocaust 65 years ago and become a vibrant people once again throughout the world and especially in Israel. This drives the urachievers absolutely crazy. The Arabs and Muslims who are perhaps the richest people on earth with their oil wealth, still cannot figure out why one and one equals two...and these people invented the modern number system. It is all jealousy and sloth that has engulfed these people. Certainly the Chinese will overtake the USA. Cheap labor, terrible human conditions, low value of human life, no democracy, no labor unions, all figure into the mix. On the whole, let these Chinese come in and see what a real industrialized society looks like.

(1) lga, January 4, 2015 12:16 PM

Legalize no, decriminalize yes

I do agree that it should not be legalized, for the reasons you state (although your statement about it being easily available to one and all is somewhat inaccurate; even where legal, it is heavily regulated and taxed, much like alcohol and tobacco). However, it is high time we decriminalize it. We cannot afford to keep10s of thousands of non-violent people behind bars for years and years. We cannot afford to then pay for these people to remain on the public dole for life because they cant find stable employment with a felony on their record. We cant afford to pay for the consequences to the children growing up with a parent behind bars. Locking people up for minor non-violent crimes does no one any good. Fines, probation, mandated treatment are the way to go, and it shiuld be a misdemeanor, not a felony.

Baruch, January 4, 2015 6:01 PM

Criminalize the sale of recreational marijuana

The user is a victim. The seller is motivated by the tremendous profit margins in selling marijuana. Going the way of Colorado will lead to a society of lethargic Ratafarians, eventually. Not immediately, and those who support it will point to that, but let's check again 10 years from now. Then, the ones who don't use will be the 1% and Occupy will complain that they have all the money, without admitting why, and hostility will result.


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