Rabbi Fights Feds to Open Pot Shop

Rabbi will open a medical marijuana dispensary in the nation's capitol

"[The federal government] should know who is a pot dealer and who is not. For them to pretend otherwise is ridiculous," says Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn. Kahn, an ordained rabbi who has served congregations for over 30 years, is opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Washington, D.C. this summer alongside his wife. Kahn says the federal government has made it impossible for him to get a bank account for his small business. 

Medical marijuana is legal in D.C. and 18 states, but it's still illegal under federal law. This means that even though Kahn is abiding by D.C. law, banks won't work with his business for fear of losing FDIC protection--or worse. Kahn says he has not been able to open a bank account with any financial institution. If he is forced to be a cash-only business, he will be more vulnerable to crime and IRS auditing.  

About 4 minutes.

Produced by Amanda Winkler. Shot by Todd Krainin and Winkler. Narrated by Krainin. Additional help by Joshua Swain. 

Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube Channel to receive notifications when new material goes live.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • John||

    I am told kosher weed is the best weed.

  • dinkster||

    I suddenly want pickles.

  • Hyperion||

    Joo pickles are the bestest. And I am totally serial about that.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Also, hot dogs. I don't know if they really taste better or anything, but not having lips and anuses in a food product is a definite plus in my book.

  • Hyperion||

    I haven't ever tried kosher hot dogs, but I can testify to the fact that there are 2 different brands of pickles that they sell in the kosher section of one of the local markets here that are the best freaking pickles I have ever had.

  • John||

    Has Mary hacked my account again?

  • Ted S.||

    No; this is a repost of a year-old article. (I only caught it when I saw EvH posting as EvH and not GKC.)

  • BakedPenguin||

    Ted, of al the regulars, you ought to be okay with that. You don't even mind reading the black-and-white reposts.

  • Paul.||

    Reefer Rabbi Fights Feds to Open Pot Shop

    In this corner....

    Who should I put my money on in this scenario?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Article from *The Jewish Week.* As I suspected, he was a Reform rabbi. The article says it was his wife's idea, based on her father's use of MJ to alleviate suffering while suffering from a serious illness.

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/n.....t-business

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Oh, and let's do the inevitable reference:

    "Pretty Fly for a Rabbi"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjQXbPBJ_1A

  • fried wylie||

    WAYFTW

  • Inigo M.||

    Love this song! Weird Al is the best at what he does.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "Come down to Meshuggener Jeffrey's, where he's gone insane! He's smashing prices while DEA agents smash his store front! His profits are literally going up in smoke! Everything must go! Oy vey!"

  • Inigo M.||

    Jeffrey: "Come on down and I'll make you such a deal. I'm telling you, you'll plotz when you see these prices!"

  • ||

  • Matrix||

    Judaism doesn't explicitly ban marijuana or a lot of other drugs. there is a simple principle "Dinah malchut dinah -- the law of the land is the law". So it is forbidden only because the government says it is illegal.

    And technically you should not do something that harms your body. But you'll see some Frum Jews smoking like a chimney. And then there are obese Jews everywhere. So it does come down to "the law of the land is the law."

    Of course there's the whole "if you have two Jews, there are three opinions between them". So there are plenty who light up.

  • Marginal||

    Everything Matrix says is correct. Although it's fairly predictable that this guy is a Reform rabbi, there's some basis for this in Jewish ethical teaching. Judaism is not a religion that promotes excess suffering or martyrdom.

    For example, you are allowed to break commandments (e.g. eat on Yom Kippur, not attend synagogue on Shabbat if you're a male) if you genuinely and reasonably believe that they would harm your health.

    If you've been following medical marijuana closely, you know that Israel has moved ahead very far in institutionalizing medical use of cannabis and performing research on the subject.

    But of course Matrix is right about Jews--too fucking many opinions for our own good.

  • Sansos||

    "-too fucking many opinions for our own good"
    No there's not, I like it.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Can you roll on Shabbos?

  • ||

    Shut the fuck up, Donny.

  • Hyperion||

    It sure doesn't ban alcohol, the local deli where I live is always full of Jews buying mass quantities of the alcohol.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Do they sell fiberglas insulation?

  • fried wylie||

    Rabbi: ""[The federal government] should know who is a pot dealer and who is not."

    The Feds: "...and you're try to sell pot. Case Closed."

  • Milton Friesman||

    The sooner the conversation changes from legalizing "medical" marijuana on merits that solid health research hasn't clearly shown to legalizing it because Americans don't want the government telling us what we can and can't fucking do, the sooner pot will actually be legal.

  • Anvil||

    If his dispensary gets negated/shut down by the government, this will be a first for a Jew.

    Also, I'm surprised a Jew would have trouble getting financing from a bank for opening a business.

  • ||

    If this is a parody, good stuff. If it's 'Merkun (or another racist), go fuck yourself, shitheel.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's too sincere to be sarcasm.

    I think that's genuine shithead thinking.

  • Irish||

    If his dispensary gets negated/shut down by the government, this will be a first for a Jew.

    Good point. I can think of no instance in all of history where Jews have had their businesses shut down by governments.

  • ||

    The comment is a year old Irish; it was a less enlightened time. Cut the racist troll some slack.

  • Irish||

    American's been with us for over a year?

    Trolls grow up so fast.

  • ||

    I know!

    *wipes single manly tear from eye*

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    FUCK! I bit. Should have known 29 comments that quickly on a Sunday was suspicious. But I thought we fixed this bullshit?

  • Ted S.||

    WHoever is at H&R on Sundays likes torturing us.

  • Rich||

    Pope Francis denounced the growing movement to legalize drugs like marijuana, saying "to think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem."

    With all due respect, Your Holiness, please state precisely what you consider "the problem".

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    Pope Benedict was a genuine intellectual, whatever you think of his religion or his views. John Paul II was an artist and a crusader against communism, not to mention his notable lack of anti-semitism.

    Pope Francis is ass-clown. His understanding of economics is terrible EVEN by the standards of Roman Catholic popes (which is saying a lot).

    Every week this guy surprises me with something completely idiotic.

  • ||

    "to think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem."

    What is the point of him saying that? Why say that 'to hold an opinion does not solve problems'?

    Fuckin commie pope is an idiot.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Last Friday Pope Francis denounced the growing movement to legalize drugs like marijuana, saying "to think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem."

    I used to wonder about the pronouncements against birth control, but now I'm wondering...does the Pope hate Mexicans?

    Does he have any idea how much suffering the Drug War has caused in Mexico?

  • ||

    One of the fundamental tenets of the Catholic religion is that pleasure is a sin and pain and suffering are righteous.

  • ||

    June 27, 2013

    Damn Reason, throwback Sundays?

  • ||

    It's very disconcerting seeing comments by myself that I don't even remember making. I wonder how stoned I was.

  • ||

    You need to come up with some equivalent to the Mankoski pain scale for being stoned.
    0: no cannibinoids in your system; no eye redness
    1: this stuff is a fucking joke, I'm gonna punch my dealer; eye redness: minimal

    10: Curled up in a corner whimpering "I'm so high it hurts, I'm so high it hurts."; eye redness: totally crimson.

  • ||

    6: Getting really baked on my deck after sitting out at the pool in the sun drinking cold unfiltered sake and reading on my Kindle. Man this Purple Kush is good.

  • ||

    Fuck you, I'm dry as a bone.

  • John||

    Me too. Though mine was funnier than thought

  • ||

    How stoned were you?

  • John||

    Not enough.

  • ||

    (passes John the bong)

  • Ted S.||

    I wonder how stoned I was.

    No more than any other time you post here.

  • Slammer||

    Bring forth the Holy Flashbang Grenade of Antioch!

  • Hyperion||

    Are we supposed to give a fuck about what some old guy in a silly hat and costume thinks? I say no.

  • Sevo||

    Gee, how about when he tells gangsters he won't let them in the club-house?

    "Pope Francis excommunicates mafia in Ndrangheta base"
    [...]
    "London, June 22 (ANI): Pope Francis has strongly condemned the mafia's "adoration of evil" at a mass in Calabria, saying that the gangsters were effectively "excommunicated"."
    (link no work; do a search)

    Do they have to be convicted first, or does he hear voices that tell him who's a thug?

  • Hyperion||

    The invisible sky gawd tells him who the thugs are. Invisible sky gawd also say 'drugs are bad, mmkay?'.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    That isn't very Christian of him.

    I thought all teh Catliks had to do to go to heaven was confess their sins (knowing full well they were going to head out and re-commit them)? Works for using birth control, why not concrete galoshes and Columbian neckties?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Eddie, can I get a call here?

  • pmains||

    In Eddie's absence, I will officiate.

    No, if you go to confession with the intent of committing the same sin again, you are not absolved. Part of the act of contrition, which you recite, goes, "I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin." Additionally, the priest usually asks you if you are truly sorry for your sins and committed to not repeating them. Otherwise, you are guilty of the sin of presuming upon God's mercy.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So all the Catliks who use birth control are going to hell.

    Heaven might be alright after all. ;-)

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    We can't all be as morally upstanding as the Latin American marxists that Francis counts among his friends.

  • John||

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2.....y.html?m=1

    Why do leftist writers always turn out to be such misfit douche bags? Look at that picture of Dylan Scott.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, because that's what leftist writers are, durr!

  • DRM||

    I see some Pope needs to go and re-read St. Thomas Aquinas, the Treatise on Law, Question 96, Article 2.

  • Sevo||

    And WIH didn't he have the sky-daddy or Jr. block that Portagee goal?

  • SIV||

    The homo-conspiracy at the Vatican needs to pull their cocks out of each others' asses and serve this Pope a John Paul I Mickey Finn.

  • MSimon||

Click here to follow Reason on Instagram

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE