(By Dr. Michael Brown) Just when you think you’ve heard it all, a pastor calls your radio show asking how to respond to a congregant who claims that cannabis was sanctioned by God in the Torah. That’s right, sanctioned by the Lord Himself, not to be smoked but to be burned in large quantities by the priests of Israel. Far out! To be sure, there was a time in my life when I would have readily believed something like this, since I spent 1969-1971 as a heavy drug-using, hippie rock drummer, consuming everything from pot to LSD and from

speed to heroin. Not surprisingly, when my two best friends starting reading the Bible, telling me about the more esoteric passages in the Scriptures—all kinds of visions and dreams and revelations—I asked them in jest, “What were they smoking?” That, in fact, is what I asked the pastor (again, in jest) who called the show: What is this congregant smoking? It turns out that there is an alleged scholarly basis for this bogus belief, namely, that the Hebrew words qaneh-bosem in Exodus 30:23 refer to marijuana, or, more specifically, hemp. READ MORE