Unless you’re living under a rock or are under the influence of Arak, you’ve probably heard that marijuana will be legalized under Canada’s historic Cannabis Act beginning this week.
For many, this news may induce laughter; for others, feelings of paranoia; for some, it could cause cravings for pickles, or babka, but then again, you may just be feeling noshy.
We, the people of the book, instinctively search for a deeper (read: “higher”) level of understanding. And, as always, we feel the tug of the ancient, irrepressible urge to ask the crucial question: “But is it good for us?”
As self-proclaimed experts, we thought it only appropriate to offer our guidance to all ye children of Israel, in what we like to call the “YidLife Crisis guide to the Cannabisl Act.”
1. “To buy, posses or use cannabis, you must be of legal age (18 or 19 or older, depending on your province or territory).” Sure, that might fly on a civic level, but we all know that manhood and womanhood begin at 13 and 12, respectively, in Jewish law (and if you identify as gender fluid or non-binary, let’s call it 12.5 for your “they mitzvah”). Let us be clear: while we’re not advocating the consumption of marijuana by young, impressionable minds and not-fully developed brains, we turned out basically OK, nu? All we’re saying is, what do you think a better bar mitzvah gift is, chai dollars or Chai Times?
2. “The Cannabis Act includes strict penalties for selling or providing cannabis to youth under the legal age.” Shame on you for facilitating the use of cannabis for those who are not of age. On the other hand, the “stoning” of the elderly is considered a double mitzvah, even quadruple when using THC supplements sourced from Israel.
3. “Legal cannabis has an excise stamp appearing in different colours for each province and territory on product labels.” If you’re like us, you read this quickly, saw the word “exercise” and became concerned. Thankfully, that’s not the case.
4. “If you use cannabis, learn how to use it responsibly. Know the health effects. Like alcohol and tobacco, cannabis has risks. Especially for young adults.” This couldn’t be more true. Besides the dangers of smoking that one should already be aware of, cannabis does have currently unknown effects on short-term memory. So much so, in fact, that some say they have difficulty finishing the ideas of sentences that they –
5. “Don’t drive high or work impaired. Cannabis can impair your ability to operate vehicles or equipment safely.” Driving while impaired by cannabis or any other drug is a serious criminal offence. More often than not, Jews will only have to worry about the driving part – the “operating equipment” part, not so much …
6. “If you possess cannabis, store it away from children, youth and pets.” Look for a place no one would think to look – like your tefillin sack or afikoman pouch.
7. “It’s illegal to take cannabis across the Canadian border, whether you’re leaving or coming to Canada. This applies to all countries, whether cannabis is legal there or not.” We have nothing to contribute here, other than to wonder which enterprising Jew is going to be the first to create a pre-border drop-off centre for marijuana (a.k.a., the “de-pot”)? It’s a great business model – your supply is free, you just saved people from a criminal offence and you get to re-sell on the wholesale market. Run with it. (But not across the border, please! What did we just tell you, lokh in kop!)
8. “Under the Cannabis Act, access to cannabis for medical purposes will continue to be provided to those who are authorized by their healthcare practitioner.” This is a hazy ruling, as what Jew ultimately was not using marijuana for medical purposes at the end of the day (especially at the end of the day!)
Hopefully these mishnaic fill-ins illuminate your relationship to cannabis as a Canuck and a member of the tribe. For those of you who have been using cannabis prior to this date, congratulations on the lifting of your guilt. For those of you that may try it for the first time, remember that the bracha is Shehecheyanu and we recommend Havdalah as your starting point. A gut vokh and am Yisra’el high!