By Eliyahu Federman
This week a Federal court judge ruled that religion can be used as a defense in a marijuana distribution charge. But so far no states have legalized religious marijuana use, even though there is compelling reason to do so.
People consume alcohol for religious reasons, especially Jews. At least 25 states even allow minors to consume alcohol for religious purposes. So why not legalize marijuana for legitimate religious purposes?
Various world religions include the practice of ritual drinking of alcohol. Christians drink communion wine. Jews drink Kiddush wine, Passover Seder wine, and consume alcohol on festivals such as Purim where the tradition is to celebrate by drinking until one can’t distinguish Haman (our enemy) and Mordecai (our hero).
Last year, Northwestern University defrocked Chabad rabbi Dov Hillel Klien for serving alcohol to underage students. Klien maintains that he was serving moderate amounts of alcohol for legitimate religious purposes, such as Kidush wine on Shabbat, with the knowledge of university officials. Klien is currently suing Northwestern for religious discrimination and for “singling (Jewish groups) out from other campus religious organizations that ‘commit the same acts’ — meaning Christians who celebrate the Eucharist with wine.”