The truth is that weed already is a Jewish issue and always has been.
Never mind that cannabis is in the Torah, or that Israel is at the forefront of medical cannabis research, or that a majority of prominent drug policy activists are Jewish, or that Seth Rogen made a movie named “Pineapple Express,” the Drug War deserves a place on the progressive Jewish agenda because it is a civil rights abomination.
Did you know that one in every fifteen African-American men is incarcerated? About half of those incarcerated are in prison for non-violent crimes. And, despite the fact that crime rates have dropped dramatically, the incarcerated population continues to rise. Between 1990 and 2008 the incarceration rate (i.e. the number of prisoners per 100,000 population) has increased two-thirds. We are not advocating that all drugs should be legal. We are advocating that the current system isn’t working and not only that, it is hurting millions of people in the process. And not doing something goes against what it means to be Jewish.
The paradox is that even though we as Jews have a counter-culture affinity for cannabis, we have little accountability as a community for what that means. Whether it is because we can pass for "off-white" or because our community has the resources to get petty criminal offenses expunged, we don't connect the dots between our actions and our consequences. Either out of fear of liability, or embarrassment, or perhaps a healthy dose of issue fatigue, the Jewish community has been largely silent on the issues of drug policy reform and prison reform.
what we do:
Often it seems like nothing is going right. Horrible things are happening all the time. And yet, amid a world of seemingly unsolvable problems, lies a completely solvable problem. Marijuana legalization at the national level, drug policy reform and prison sentencing reform are tangible issues that, if addressed, will alter millions of people's lives for the better. But how do you get people to create change?
It all starts with a conversation - and that is where we come in.
1. We spark up difficult (and lively) conversations across the Jewish community. Our signature event is The Cannabis Passover Seder. We draft a Haggadah that we distribute for free for people to download and do their own seders. We are also planning new events all the time. (This year we are adding a Hanukkah - Festival of Lights!)
2. We laugh and are not afraid to celebrate the love affair between Jewish culture and the cannabis plant.
3. We collaborate with key stakeholder groups to create campaigns that inspire and stay true to our mission.
Want to help expand our Cannabis Passover Seder nationally? Either contact us or donate to help make it happen.
About Claire and Roy Kaufmann
Claire and Roy Kaufmann have been married for twelve years and have three children – 11, 8 and 6. Claire is an cannabis industry leader, working as the NW Regional Director for renowned cannabis business intelligence firm, BDS Analytics. Claire also hosts an industry podcast "In the Weeds," and also writes for her blog: rebrandingcannabis.com. Roy has a history of cannabis activism having worked on Oregon Measure 80, along with numerous other legalization efforts. He is an award-winning speech writer, having written for mayors, governors and business executives. He is currently the head of PR at a private liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon.