Holy smokes: Pastor and rabbi apply for Maryland medical marijuana licenses
A man smoking marijuana (Shutterstock)

At least two religious leaders in Maryland are among the applicants for a limited number of medical marijuana licenses that will be issued by the state, the Washington Post reported.

"In the first chapter of the Bible, God creates plants and tells us that they are very good, and they are for our use," said Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn. "God has created these things for our benefit."

Even though the state legalized medical marijuana use in 2013, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission announced last December that legal sales would not begin until next year.

Both Kahn and Pastor Gareth E. Murray are among nearly 900 applicants for the licenses necessary to grow or sell the drug. According to the Post, up to 15 licenses will be issued.

Kahn, who has already been working with a dispensary in Washington D.C. -- where possession and cultivation of marijuana was legalized on a limited basis last year -- said he applied to open his own outlet across the border between Maryland and the city, since he has to turn away Maryland residents from buying the drug there.

"It's too sad not being able to help," he said.

For his part, Murray -- a former Democratic Maryland state delegate -- was drawn to apply for the license after researching how marijuana can help cancer patients cope with side effects from chemotherapy.

"People look at medical marijuana a lot of times as the guy standing in the corner smoking a joint or getting high," said Murray, who serves as the associate pastor for the First Baptist Church of Silver Spring. "We need to educate people about the facts. And it’s not about getting high; it's medical."