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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    ALBANY — This pot is kosher!

    A marijuana grower gearing up for the start of New York’s medical pot program in January announced Wednesday that its products have been certified kosher by the Orthodox Union.

    Vireo Health of New York, which was one of five companies chosen by the state to grow and distribute medical pot, said it will be the first “medical cannabis company in the world” to have the “OU” symbol on its oils, vaporization cartridges and other products.

    “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,” said Vireo CEO Ari Hoffnung.

    Vireo operates a growing facility in upstate New York and plans to open a dispensary in Queens sometime in January.

    Rabbi Menachem Genack, chief executive officer of OU Kosher, said the organization was pleased to grant its 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.”

    Gov. Cuomo and lawmakers approved the use of medical marijuana in 2014 but gave the state Health Department 18 months to set up the program in New York.

    Under the law, medical marijuana can be used to treat 10 serious illnesses and conditions, including cancer, HIV and AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, epilepsy, some spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis.

    By Glen Blain - The NY Daily News/Dec. 30, 2015
    Photo: Eater
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    [IMGR=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=47722&stc=1&d=1451591856[/IMGR]In the struggle for legalized marijuana products, one group has often found itself left out of the pot party — Jews.

    While plenty of Jews know how to enjoy a hit or two, for those who follow Judaic dietary laws, it's got to be kosher. And so far, that's been something of a problem. "Weed use for pleasure is forbidden," Andrew Zeitler, an Orthodox millennial living in Israel, told Mic.


    But things may be starting to change. A New York company is gearing up to sell what it's billing as the first-ever kosher medical marijuana.

    Vireo Health of New York, one of five licensed New York state purveyors of medical marijuana, announced on Wednesday that it has been officially certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. This means Vireo products — vaporization cartridges, capsules and oils — will display the OU coveted seal of endorsement: the ? symbol on its packaging.

    "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 press statement. "Patients should never feel guilty or ashamed for using a product recommended by their physicians."

    With the certification, Vireo will become the only legal marijuana distributor in New York state to obtain a kosher stamp of approval.

    So what is the deal? Maybe you've heard of pork and shellfish, but marijuana? A plant? How can a plant not be kosher?

    From a structural perspective, there's not much standing in the way, Rabbi Philip Weintraub of Congregation Agudas Israel in Newburgh, New York, told Mic.

    "Vegetables are kosher," he said, noting that the key sticking point on the farm would be to ensure that no bugs or insect remains were left on the final product.

    According to Weintraub, the really tough questions arise later. "Pot as a medicine is very different than pot as a recreational drug," he said. According to widely accepted conventions of Jewish traditions, keeping kosher and most other laws can be broken for medical reasons. To save a life, for example, a Jewish doctor can perform surgery on the Sabbath, a time which traditionally forbids work. The sentiment was backed by other rabbis interviewed by Vice on the subject earlier this year and goes a long way to explaining the Orthodox Union's decision.

    Smoking for pleasure, though, remains off-limits. "Mind-altering substances are not exactly ideal," Weintraub said. "You can't do mitzvahs [observe the commandments] if you're high."

    And that's the bad news for those craving a kosher weed brownie.

    "Recreationally," Weintraub said, "it just doesn't seem like we're there right now."

    By John Levine - Mic/Dec. 31, 2015
    Photo: shoebo
    Newshawk Crew
  2. Potter
    Why does the Gov't involve itself with these superstitions?
  3. Nosferatus
    Aren't all seed bearing plants kosher by default?
  4. Beenthere2Hippie
    Seems all seed-bearing plants aren't since some are poisonous, and therefore not fit to eat, biblically speaking.

    Potter, I have no clue to the actual "why" of the FDA's involvement in kosher law myself.
  5. Nosferatus
    ^^I don't believe the FDA actually has anything to do with enforcing religious dietary laws, various private organizations determine whether a given product meets their kosher or halal standards and label it accordingly. The article doesn't say anything about the government being involved, I think potter's going off half cocked because something aggravated one of her personal prejudices, first time for everything and all that. Anyway, I reread the article, apparently this stuff can be certified kosher because it's inspected to make sure that it doesn't contain any non-kosher insects.
  6. Beenthere2Hippie
    Actually, the FDA, it seems, verifies whether kosher food is kosher (free of non-kosher elements).

    Here's a few interesting links showing the FDA is involved to some degree:



    If it wasn't New Years I'd delve into the shite full-force, but I just somehow don't feel like it tonight lol.

    Maybe tomorrow.

    If you read through it first, please let me know HOW involved they get. And thanks for your input, both of you.

    And Happy New Year!
  7. Nosferatus
    ^^Neither article says anything about the FDA enforcing kosher regulations, and doing so would be impossible for them to do, as there is no central kosher authority and no universal standards of what is and isn't kosher, a cursory Google search confirmed this, the only thing they could possibly do is ensure that a given product meets the kosher standards of whatever authority's seal it's labelled with. Anyway, looking forward to a lively debate soon, Happy New Year to you too.
  8. Beenthere2Hippie
    Must have been my error. Sorry. Seems like the whole ordeal is quite complex.

    Here's the rabbinical organization that oversees kosher products in the US:


    The FDA, it seems, only qualifies the foods as kosher after analysis, like it does with any product sold in grocery and food stores.
  9. Nosferatus
    Right, but that's enforcing accurate labeling as opposed to enforcing kosher regulations, the FDA doesn't have it's own kosher standards, the most they could do is ensure that a given product meets the standards of whatever authority said the product is kosher.
  10. Beenthere2Hippie
    No, the FDA does not set kosher standards. But if any substance that is not listed show up on any product going to market--kosher or not--I'm sure the FDA informs the said company of their finding, don't you think?
  11. Nosferatus
    ^^Well yeah, that would be inaccurate labelling, and that very much is the province of the FDA.
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