CLAIM: Pro-marijuana advocates argue that the Exodus 30:23 supports marijuana use because it mentions the “fragrant cane” (qāneh bōśem) in the Tabernacle worship. Is this this case?
RESPONSE: This is an old trope that came from Polish professor Sula Benet in 1936. It is demonstrably false.
First, the English word “cannabis” doesn’t come from the Hebrew language, but from Greek (kannabis). There is no etymological connection between the Hebrew “fragrant cane” (qāneh bōśem), and the Greek word kannabis. Hebrew scholar Michael Brown writes, “Not a single scholarly, biblical Hebrew lexicon in the world connects these words with cannabis. I can say that emphatically because I own them all, in multiple languages. The alleged connection isn’t there.” Likewise, biblical scholar Todd Miles states, “There is no evidence that this [etymological connection is] actually the case, and Hebrew scholars are happy with the translation ‘fragrant cane.’”
Second, the Pentateuch states that the priests would die if they entered God’s presence intoxicated: “Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die” (Lev. 10:9).
Third, cannabis was found in an 8th century BC temple in Arad in Judea. But Miles notes that “faithful Israelite worship would have forbidden a temple in Arad, and that site is infamous for its syncretistic worship of Yahweh and Asherah… Our only record right now is that [cannabis] was used in blasphemous idolatry.”
 Michael Brown, “No, God Did Not Prescribe the Use of Cannabis in the Bible.” Christianity Today (September 24, 2017).
 Todd Miles, Cannabis and the Christian: What the Bible Says about Marijuana (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2021), p.165.
 Todd Miles, Cannabis and the Christian: What the Bible Says about Marijuana (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2021), pp.165-166.