Top rabbi says medical marijuana is kosher for Passover

NEW YORK (WCMH/AP) – Pass the bitter herbs, and another kind of herb, too–marijuana is kosher for the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, who is widely considered the leading ultra-Orthodox authority, ruled that medical marijuana can be eaten or smoked over the eight-day festival.

The Times of Israel reported that Kanievsky and another leading Orthodox authority smelled marijuana leaves and decided they have a “healing smell.”

In normal circumstances, marijuana leaves are considered part of a group of legumes and pulses that are banned on Passover for Jews of Ashkenazi origin.

Observant Jews don’t eat leavened grain products during the eight days of Passover because the holiday commemorates the Biblical story of Exodus, when Jews fleeing slavery in Egypt didn’t have time to let their bread rise. They took instead flat, hard unleavened bread that today is sold as matzo. Passover dietary rules forbid consumption of certain grain-based foods like bread and pasta that puffs up when cooked.

Passover began at sunset Friday.

*The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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