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Just-Stam
things that just are

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Can't use this green leaf for karpas

No pot on Passover

In bad news for its religious Jewish supporters, an Israeli pro-marijuana party announced Tuesday that pot is forbidden on Passover.

Cannabis is among the substances Jews are forbidden to consume during the week-long festival, which begins on Monday, said Michelle Levine, a spokeswoman for the Green Leaf party.

Biblical laws prohibit eating leavened foods during Passover, replacing bread with flat crackers called matza.

Later injunctions by European rabbis extended those rules to forbid other foods like beans and corn, and more recent rulings have further expanded the ban to include hemp seeds, which today are found in some health oils - and in marijuana.

Green Leaf is a small political party that supports the legalisation of marijuana. Although it is by no means a Jewish religious authority, the group decided to warn its observant supporters away from the drug on Passover.

"You shouldn't smoke marijuana on the holiday, and if you have it in your house you should get rid of it," Levine said. The edict was first reported in The Jerusalem Post.

But not everyone needs to give up their habit for the duration of the festival. The rabbinic injunctions banning hemp were never adopted by Sephardic Jews, who come from countries in the Middle East and North Africa. That means there is no reason they can't keep smoking marijuana, Levine said, except that it remains illegal, despite her party's best efforts.

Green Leaf contested the last three national elections but never won a seat, despite gaining popularity as a protest vote. According to Levine, the party has a large number of religious supporters.

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