Celebrating Passover With Cannabis

Passover is here - and one group has Jews incorporating cannabis into the traditional Passover Seder, where families and friends gather to read and discuss the text of the Haggadah, drink four (or more) ritual cups of wine and partake of symbolic foods.

The idea of introducing marijuana into Passover started with Roy and Claire Kaufmann of Portland, Oregon.

"This year the issue of medical and adult use marijuana will be on the ballot in states all across the country," the Kaufmanns said in a press release. "This Seder is a lot of fun but it serves a "higher" purpose. It's aim is to bring intentionality back into the experience of cannabis consumption."

The Kaufmanns encourage people to download the Haggadah and invite their friends and family to what they call "a kinder Seder table." As they explain, "the goal of hosting a Cannabis Seder is to provide a familiar and fun venue to have a new, often-uncomfortable conversation about marijuana prohibition, race and justice. Why is Passover a time to tell this story? Because the story of mass incarceration and the oppressions of prohibition parallel the Exodus story."

Cannabis on the Seder plate is, for them, a natural addition: marror, or "bitter herbs," are already eaten on Passover in keeping with the biblical commandment in Exodus 12:8 ("with bitter herbs they shall eat it.").

Whether you're observant, or merely an observant - the cannabis Haggadah "contains all the traditional elements of a full Passover Seder [...] while "sparking up" lively conversations around your dinner table."

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I've been covering cannabis for nearly five years, and by now I'm all too accustomed to the impersonal cannabis conference at a stuffy, generic hotel or expo hall, brimming with white guys in suits, and generally lacking in the spirit of well, cannabis. (The woes of legalization, I suppose.) So it was a breath of fresh air when I walked into what felt like a giant atrium in downtown LA for a new kind of cannabis conference. Located in what's called the Valentine Grass Room in an industrial area past the hustle and bustle of the DTLA skyscrapers, Microscopes & Machines (M&M) boasted a diverse array of speakers, from doctors and lawyers to chemists and cultivators on the frontlines of the cannabis industry.

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