Question: Is it permitted to smoke marijuana?
Answer: Thank you for your question. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein OB”M discusses this in his responsa Igros Moshe, Yoreh De’ah Vol. 3, Siman 35. The following is a loose translation of what he writes there:
“It is obviously forbidden to smoke marijuana, as this violates many basic laws of our Torah. First of all, it physically injures the person. Even if there are people who are not physically affected by this, it mentally affects the person as it destroys his mind, and prevents him from understanding things properly. This is a terrible thing, since not only can the individual not properly study Torah, he also can not pray and properly perform Mitzvos (commandments), since doing them mindlessly is considered as if they were not done at all. Furthermore, he is creating within himself a very strong desire (addiction?), which is much stronger than the desire to eat, etc. which are necessary for a person to live. There are many that can not control and withstand this desire. This is a very grave prohibition, as we find that a Ben Sorer U’Moreh [is killed] (See Deut. 21:18) for creating within himself a very strong desire, even though it is to eat Kosher food! How much more so it is forbidden for a person to bring upon himself an even greater desire, especially for something that a person does not need at all…
Additionally, the parents of the person smoking certainly are disturbed by his actions, in which case he is violating the Mitzvah of Kibbud Av V’Em (respect for parents). He is also violating the Mitzvah of “Kedoshim Ti’Hiyu”(be holy), as explained by the Ramban in his commentary on the Chumash (5 Books of Moses). This also leads him to transgress other prohibitions, besides the actual prohibition of taking drugs. The bottom line is that it is clear and obvious that this is one of the grave prohibitions, and everyone must try with all of their strength to remove this impurity (Tuma’ah) from all Children of Israel.”
Rabbi Aaron Tendler
[Reposted from the Archives]