A New York company says it will soon 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.
Vireo Health says its non-smokable medical cannabis products have been certified as conforming to the Jewish dietary law by the Orthodox Union.
Vireo says it’s the first time a medical cannabis product has been deemed kosher and it will be the first company to have the ‘OU’ symbol on its oils, vaporization cartridges and other products.
The Orthodox Union says it awarded certification after inspecting Vireo’s facilities to ensure the marijuana was grown and processed according to kosher standards.
Those include, for example, insect-free plants.
Vireo Health was one of five companies chosen by the state to grow and distribute medical pot as New York’s medical pot program begins in January.
Vireo says the certification will help the company serve patients among New York’s Jewish population, which is the nation’s largest.
Its program is slated to start next month and will serve patients in New York state with certain qualifying conditions.
Vireo CEO Ari Hoffnung told Daily News: ‘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.’
Rabbi Menachem Genack, chief executive officer of OU Kosher, told the Daily News the organization was pleased to grant certification to Vireo.
‘Judaism prioritizes health and encourages the use of medicine designed to improve one’s health or reduce pain,’ Genack said. ‘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.’
Lawmakers and Governor Cuomo approved the use of medical marijuana in New York back in 2014 but gave the state Health Department 18 months to set up the new program.