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  • By Kate McDermott
  • 2021-05-05 | May 05, 2021
  • comments : 3 comments
Happy Chronikkah

When you’ve been in the glass pipe business for over 15 years, you start to see possibilities everywhere. That was certainly the case with GRAV founder David Daily back in 2012, as he prepared to celebrate Hanukkah with his family.

What better way to combine the Hanukkah candle-lighting tradition with his favorite method of relaxation than to create a Menorah bubbler? But a piece that could mimic the shape of a menorah would be complicated and needed some outside help. David reached out to Temple-based glass blower Charli Glass to collaborate on the design and make the piece.

Together, the two created a holiday-appropriate monster — 26” wide, with nine bowls all serving a single chamber. The original design included candle holders to use in place of the bowls, so the Menorah would also function as a...menorah. It was a hit in the Daily house. But after that first holiday, the design sat neglected.

Going Viral

That is, until December 2014, when our buddies at 420 Science produced a video to show how it worked. The video went viral, amassing over 2 million views on YouTube and Facebook.

Traditional media wasn’t far behind. Outlets from Forbes to Vice each shared their own take on the GRAV Menorah. The New York Jewish Week used it to introduce their discussion of how Hanukkah had become enmeshed in marijuana culture.

Bill Maher referenced it during his impassioned plea to Democrats, asking them to make legalization a major platform of the 2018 midterm elections. And of course, it’s been posted and reposted to Reddit more times than we could count.

For the next couple of years, Menorahs were made-to-order. But with their huge size and high price point ($799 each), the piece couldn’t easily be integrated into most people’s High Holidays.

By 2016, it was time for a redesign.

The Redesign

The first thing that had to change was the size. The massive 2-foot piece was reduced to a more manageable 14”. Next, the base was made thicker to help stabilize the piece. The result was a less unwieldy and easier-to-store bubbler.

Then there were some aesthetic changes. The logo was updated to the current sandblasted version, and the mouthpiece was re-tooled to be simpler and more streamlined. Finally, the team dispensed with the candleholders, since people didn’t seem to be using them.

Fewer pieces and the smaller size meant we were able to reduce the price of the Menorah by 50% while improving the quality and strength of the bubbler.

The current version is released in a limited run of about 100 pieces every holiday season for a much more reasonable $399.99.

The Jewish Cannabis Community

Outsiders to the Jewish faith may be surprised by how prevalent cannabis use has become in many Jewish households. But it turns out, Judaism may have an old tradition of cannabis use.

How old? At least Old Testament old.

At God’s instruction, Moses used “kanah bosm” as an ingredient in the anointing oil that he made for the Tabernacle (the port-a-sanctuary that the Jews carried with them through the desert after escaping from Egypt). Opinions differ among scholars as to the translation of kanah bosm, with some saying it was cannabis, and others saying it was “fragrant cane” instead.

The term shows up several more times in the Bible, often used in oils or burnt offerings used to praise and glorify God. But later, God seemed to have changed his mind about cannabis in His offerings (as He did about many things back then). In Jeremiah 6:20, He states, “What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus [cannabis] from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.”

In the modern day, marijuana use in the Jewish community seems to be gaining traction in stages. Some rabbis say that marijuana is definitely not kosher since it may violate some slightly vague rules, such as “guard one’s health” and “be holy”. Others say that if it’s for medical use, it’s allowed. In 2016, respected Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ruled that medical marijuana is kosher and can be consumed during Passover.

In fact, Israel has the world’s highest ratio of marijuana users and has been at the forefront of medical marijuana research. The America Israel Cannabis Association (AICA) provides resources to connect the American and Israeli cannabis communities.

For the non-Orthodox Jewish community, there is little to bar them from partaking. In fact, according to sociologist Erich Goode, Jewish people are significantly more likely to smoke cannabis than Gentiles. And it’s not only the young — increasing numbers of older American Jews are smoking and enjoying edibles and salves at home, both on their own and with their adult children.

Goode theorizes that part of the cause could be that Jewish communities tend to be centralized in more urban areas, where cannabis use has become more normalized than in rural communities.

But whatever the cause, marijuana use in Jewish households is on the rise. There has been a Cannabis Passover Seder in Portland for the past several years. Jeff the 420 Chef cooks entirely kosher cannabis-infused meals that he says can be eaten by Orthodox Jews. There’s even an Instagram account completely dedicated to @jewswhotoke.

For your own Chronikkah celebration, there are plenty of ways you can integrate marijuana into your holiday festivities beyond just the Menorah.

This “Have a Marijuanakkah” stash jar provides the perfect place to store your flowers. Grind them up with this appropriate dreidel grinder. For the food, make potato latkes or chocolate babka with a little infused oil.

Even if you don’t want to get too kitschy with your celebration, you can still share the magical story of Hanukkah and the lamp-lighting ceremony with your friends and family — and then share some Kosher Kush with them as well. So smoke your marijuanukkah, friends, whether it’s out of a Menorah or another favorite piece.

Hanukkah Sameach from GRAV.

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