Published On: Thu, Dec 31st, 2015

Orthodox Union certified kosher marijuana to hit shelves next month

Rabbi Genack: “Using medical cannabis products should not be regarded as a ‘chet, ’ a sinful act, but rather as a mitzvah, an imperative, a commandment.”


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The Orthodox Union has certified Vireo Health of New York’s non-smokable medical marijuana products, Vireo announced in a news release Wednesday. Vireo is one of five medical marijuana providers selected to participate in a New York state medical marijuana program that goes into effect next month; none of the others will be certified kosher.

Vireo Health of New York, announced today that all of the company’s products produced in New York have been certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union (“OU”), the world’s largest and most widely recognized kosher certification agency.

The trademarked ‘OU’ symbol will appear on non-smokable medical cannabis products. These products will be made available for purchase to qualifying patients in Vireo’s four New York State retail dispensaries, scheduled to open in January, in White Plains, Queens, Binghamton and Albany.

“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, ” Vireo CEO Ari Hoffnung said in a statement. “Today’s announcement sends an important message to New Yorkers of all faiths and backgrounds that using medical cannabis to alleviate pain and suffering does not in any way represent an embrace of ‘pot’ culture.”

“We are pleased to grant kosher certification to Vireo Health of New York’s medical cannabis products which were developed to alleviate pain and suffering in accordance with the New York State Compassionate Care Act, ” said Rabbi Menachem Genack, Chief Executive Officer of OU Kosher.

“Judaism prioritizes health, ” Rabbi Genack added, “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.”


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