Legalizing Marijuana – Against Torah?

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  • #589356

    Itzik_s
    Member

    BS”D

    Surprisingly I guess, I support legalizing the sale and use of marijuana, mostly because law enforcement resources are now wasted on controlling a substance that has become mainstream. At this point, it should be sold in a legal and organized fashion so as to ensure a safe supply and avoid fueling gangs and perhaps even terrorism.

    Maybe the best way to handle it is Dutch style: highly controlled and monitored tolerance along with proper excise taxes so as to deter abuse/underage use and use while driving (all of which are often the case now)

    However:

    1) Would legalization lead to abuse in the Torah community or would it just bring the marginal behavior of some individuals who are often on the margins themselves into the open? (Medical marijuana, which may well be in use among some frum people who are suffering L”A, is another question altogether and I am not qualified to debate that).

    2) Other than dina demalchusa dina and abuse, is marijuana really ossur if used in a respectable manner comparable to social drinking (no, I don’t want to use it myself; a few heavy kiddushim a year, Purim, and Simchas Torah are more than enough for me!)? Is there a clear deah in Torah to be against legalization?

    #636758

    moish01
    Member

    it would probably be harder for kids to get if it was legal. think about it – if it was available in a store the black market would be down.

    #636759

    Jothar
    Member

    I once asked my rav this question. As currently understood, marijuana is no more dangerous than drinking. Once legalized, it would lose much of its stigma. Other than dina demalchusa, no real problem with it. It’s definitely better than the machalah of smoking which has affected our community.

    This was a theoretical question based on some well-publicized arrests, not a “lemaaseh” question. I don’t smoke or toke.

    However, now that’s illegal, it acts as a gateway drug- once I broke the law with x, why not break the law with y? If x which was illegal is so good, then surely y which is illegal is even better. Furthermore, selective breeding has made today’s marijuana more potent.

    #636760

    moish01
    Member

    jothar, for sure.

    but just as a side point, you’re asking people who will say that smoking is against halacha altogether. so then why would marijuana be any different? (assuming i’m not talking about for curing)

    #636761

    teen
    Member

    moish01: getting smokes and alchohol isnt all that hard

    #636762

    JayMatt19
    Participant

    >>it would probably be harder for kids to get if it was legal. think about it – if it was available in a store the black market would be down. <<

    Last I checked it wasn’t to hard for an underage person to get cigarettes, why should marijuana be different?

    #636763

    qwertyuiop
    Member

    he said if it would be legaal.$

    #636764

    moish01
    Member

    true, true. but i was thinking that they’d be a lot tougher with marijuana. maybe not 😉 well, by the time that would ever become law, i’d be over 18, so what do i care?

    #636765

    I was taught in economics class that if product “X” was made illegal, then the price will rise, as will demand to enter the business (to make money), and the alure of using it will as well. If one legalizes it, then in the short run, there would be an increase in usage and then will steadily decline.

    Halachically, I would think that any product abuse (alcohol, cigarretes ect) go against the mitzvah “leshmor es nafshoseichem- to keep your body safe” and wouldnt marijuana fall under that category as well?

    #636766

    Itzik_s
    Member

    BS”D

    Re smoking: if marijuana were used casually and not on a regular basis would it be as bad as cigarettes healthwise?

    Re underage: how hard is it for underage kids to get alcohol in NYC? I was 19 when the age was raised to 21 and theoretically got the raw end of the stick but in reality I could buy all the liquor I wanted at NYC liquor stores and I was served along with a group of underage freshmen in a bar. (The only time I was carded was when I was 23 and went to buy Shabbos wine at a store that was being monitored as its owners were known for tax and other violations; I was tempted to ask them why they waited so long to check me since I had begun shopping there at age 19 or 20!)

    #636767

    yossiea
    Member

    The kabbalists of the past would support the legalization of marijuana.

    Contrary to popular belief, marijuana is dangerous by itself and not just as a gateway drug.

    #636768

    Jothar
    Member

    From what I read, people don’t chainsmoke blunts like they chainsmoke tobacco. Nicotine is much more addicting. Maybe some members here know better than me and correct me if my metzius is off.

    There are perfectly legal “natural” drugs that provide a potent and dangerous high. these may be legal but the fact that there seem to be many deaths connected with them make them much worse halachicly than marijuana.

    To be clear, I’m not advocating smoking marijuana. The psychological effect of doing something illegal cannot be underestimated. But if it was legal, halachicly it would be better than addictive smoking.

    #636769

    moish01
    Member

    jothar, i think marijuana is more toxic and even though it’s not physically addictive, there is some sort of addiction to it. not sure what i would call it.

    #636770

    whatshaiches
    Member

    REb Moshe has a teshuva on it, check it out. Here is the mareah makom for it adn I will give you all one guess what he says. Yoreah Deah – Volume Three – Siman 35 (Page 265)

    #636771

    Jothar
    Member

    What shaiches, Thanks for the marek makom. will look it up tonight.

    Can you give me a spoiler preview whay it’s assur? Dina demalchusa, prikas ol, or health?

    #636772

    whatshaiches
    Member

    sorry about the spelling errors, forgot to spell check it before I posted, little embarrassed about them, anyway hope you guys enjoy the teshuva

    #636773

    Itzik_s
    Member

    BS”D

    Please post – I have no access to Reb Moshe ZT”L’s sforim here.

    #636774

    moish01
    Member

    yeah and post for those of us who aren’t gonna bother looking it up, but are somewhat interested.

    #636775

    Smoking is an oral addiction why poison your lungs with smoking anything. Breathing is a gift from Hashem if anything I would say to do breathing exercises to expand your lung capacity. This is all to help us in our Avodas Hashem.

    #636776

    por
    Participant

    Marijuana is addicting and psychologically dangerous and no one with any yiras Shamayim should touch it (and anyone who, R”L does use it should be given a lot of loving help to stop, and a lot of tefilos). ???? ????? ??? ??????? ?? ???? ?????. The question is whether, given its widespread availability now, the advantages of decriminalizing it in terms of lowering the amount of secondary criminal activity (theft by users to support their habits and violence among competitive dealers etc.) outweigh the consequences of making it more easily available. I’m sure this has been extensively studied, and I’m sure those studies will be carefully taken into account by gedolei poskim who look into the question, and I suspect that their opinions will carry a lot of weight in Shamayim in deciding whether to let the government legalize it. Let’s daven that the right decisions are made to make society into a safer and healthier place.

    #636777

    whatshaiches
    Member

    Reb Moshe brings a few reasons why its assur. One is because its mekalkal the guf. ANother is that it makes you a non-bar daas and if one does any mitzvos at that time, he will not be mekayaim them. Another is being over not honoring your parents because they will have tzar from you doing this. He ends by saying that one needs to stay away from this and befrat people who learn in yeshiva.

    This is just a bikitur, if one wants to see the whole thing, look it up or if someone else here wants, they can expound of this and also fix any mistakes, I might have made.

    #636778

    oomis
    Participant

    I am opposed to pot smoking, but I would still like to see it decriminalized. It is at least as dangerous as smoking cigarettes, because the smoke is damaging to the lungs, there are other types of damage that repeated use and abuse of it can cause.

    I am totally in favor of people who are undergoing chemotherapy to have ready access to it, as it has been shown to lessen the nausea that chemo can cause, and as their health is already compromised from the cancer, anything medically available that helps to make their treatment more palatable and less painful, is a good thing.

    #636779

    We Yiddin have Hashems Torah to expand our Mind and our Soul do we really need to use Marijuana to achieve this? Putting On Teffilin for Shacharis is tachlis. Then Lets Start Davening for the ultimate Religious Experience.

    #636780

    oomis
    Participant

    I meant to add to my post that the expression of guarding one’s health is in the Torah for a reason, and I don’t think the average Jewish Joe (Yosseleh) should be able to find a heter for its use. It is at least as bad as cigarettes in terms of filling the lungs with toxins, it causes some similar effects to someone being buzzed or even drunk, thus making its user a hazard on the road should he think he is fully capable of driving (pretty much what drunk drivers also think). amd right now it is illegal, so there is no need to look for further issues. Dina d’malchusa dina. That alone makes it assur, until such time as the malchusa changes it dina.

    #636781

    Joseph
    Participant

    William F. Buckley, who was a very rational person, supported it.

    #636782

    moish01
    Member

    whatshaiches, you mean the only one i was ever over on was #1?? not bad. the other two aren’t an issue cuz my parents have no clue what’s going on and i don’t generally perform too many mitzvos.

    jk, i know it’s not the best thing in the world

    #636783

    oomis
    Participant

    My son tells me there are both short and long term damages that smoking pot can cause. He had to take substance abuse courses in College for his major, as well as undergo training for dealing with substance abusers, in his job. the neural pathways are affected, but what is worse, the person using the drug has a lowered inhibition level, so he feels he is in control when he is not. This can lead to other activities that are completely and unquestionably assur. The health issue aside, the emotional impact of doing drugs should not be discounted. As with alcoholism, the abuser never believes he has a problem. (I write “he”, but it can just as likely be a girl using drugs).

    #636784

    moish- dont worry. We are here for you!

    #636785

    Jothar
    Member

    Whatshaiches, I looked up the Igros Moshe in question, and thanks a lot for it. You basically got it. He says assur because:

    1. damages the body ( lechora same is true for cigarettes)

    2. damages the mind and prevents proper learning and doing mitzvos (lechora same is true for drinking)

    3. Causes “the munchies” aka excessive taavah to eat and drink more than the body needs. this gluttony is a key part of a Ben sorer umoreh (would he also apply this to the davar mechuar of “all-you-can-eat” gluttony?)

    4. It could lead to theft to fulfill taavos, ie get the next “hit”.

    5. Causes excessive pain to parents, and violates kibbud av ve’eim (lechora also applies to drinking and smoking)

    6. Kedoshim Tihyu of Ramban in the beginning of parshas kedoshim- a mitzvas assei not to overindulge in pleasures, not to drink too much alcohol, not to overeat, etc. (lechora this mitzvas assei would assur all-you-can-eat but I’ve never seen it implemented)

    7. Gateway to other aveiros.

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