The world’s first medical marijuana that’s kosher certified will soon go on sale in New York. A company headquartered in the Big Apple confirmed its products have been certified kosher by the Orthodox Union.
A marijuana grower, who is readying for the start of New York’s medical pot program in January, confirmed it will offer the first certified kosher medical marijuana in order to “help serve the dietary and medical needs of the largest Jewish community in the United States.” The company’s products include a non-smokable variant of marijuana that has been certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. The products will bear the Orthodox Union or “OU” symbol on them.
A statement from the company reads, “Being certified kosher by the OU will not only help us serve the dietary needs of the largest Jewish community in the United States but also combat unfortunate stigmas associated with medical cannabis. Kosher medical marijuana will pass an important message to all faiths and backgrounds that using medical cannabis to alleviate pain and suffering does not in any way represent an embrace of ‘pot’ culture.”
The Orthodox Union, one of the oldest Orthodox Jewish organizations in the U.S., has certified Vireo Health’s medical cannabis as conforming to the Jewish dietary law, the reported International Business Times. The company confirmed that its non-smokable medical cannabis products will bear the logo of the Orthodox Union. It’s the first time a medical cannabis product has been deemed kosher, and the company will be the first one to have the coveted “OU” symbol on its oils, vaporization cartridges, and other products, reported the Daily Mail.
Vireo Health of New York was one of just five companies chosen by the state to grow and distribute medical pot in the state under New York’s medical pot program, which is slated to begin in the first week of January. At present, it is the only company that has the Orthodox Union certification awarded. The union confirmed that it certified the products kosher after inspecting Vireo’s facilities to “ensure the marijuana was grown and processed according to kosher standards.”
Marijuana certified by the Orthodox Union is certainly a leap in the perception of the organic substance. Although many have vouched for the efficacy of this natural alternative as compared to powerful chemical-based painkillers, products made from marijuana are often discarded as non-scientific and unreliable.
Rabbi Menachem Genack, chief executive officer of OU Kosher, the agency that accorded the certification, shared that the organization was pleased to grant its certification to Vireo, reported the New York Daily News.
Clearly implying that medical uses of marijuana are important and shouldn’t be misinterpreted as recreational drug use, he said, “Judaism prioritizes health and encourages the use of medicine designed to improve one’s health or reduce pain. Using medical cannabis products recommended by a physician should not be regarded as a “chet,” a sinful act, but rather as a mitzvah, an imperative, a commandment.”
New York’s Governor Cuomo and lawmakers approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2014. However, there was no medical program designed that regulated the use of the substance. The lawmakers had given the state health department 18 months to set up the program in New York, and accordingly, the medical usage of marijuana is set to become legal from January 2016.
Besides attempting to decriminalize marijuana in America, the advocates of the substance, have put forth numerous uses of weed. Under the soon-to-be-enacted law, medical marijuana can be used to treat 10 serious illnesses and conditions, including HIV, cancer, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy.
Kosher-certified medical marijuana products from Vireo Health should be available in dispensaries in New York state.
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