As public perceptions of marijuana change across the Western world, a parallel evolution has taken place within the Orthodox Jewish world.

Once expressly forbidden by the leading American haredi religious authority, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, in a ruling made some four decades ago, rabbinic opinions on the drug have softened in recent years.

In January, a decision by the Orthodox Union to certify medical marijuana as kosher capped years of change, marking the first prominent legitimization of the drug in the Orthodox world.

But the certification related to pot consumed for medical purposes, leaving recreational marijuana use something of a grey area.

In 2013 a pair of Israeli rabbis permitted the use of marijuana. But while Rabbi Efraim Zalmanovich permitted the drug only for medical use, Rabbi Haggai Bar-Giora ruled that smoking marijuana was allowed, whether as medicine or recreation.

This week, however, supporters of the drug received the endorsement of Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, one of the most prominent haredi rabbinic authorities in Israel, B'Hadrei Haderim reports. 

Rabbi Kanievsky, speaking specifically with regard to the permissibility of the drug during the Passover holiday, ruled that marijuana was indeed kosher for Passover – except for Ashkenazi Jews, who abstain from consuming kitniyot (legumes).

But, however, Kanievsky said that even Ashkenazi Jews were permitted to use marijuana during Passover, if it served a medical need.

In making the distinction, Rabbi Kanievsky ruled even recreational use of the drug permissible.