Medical marijuana certified as kosher for first time

The U.S. pharmaceutical company Vireo Health announced last Wednesday that the Orthodox Union (OU) has certified its medical marijuana as kosher. This is the first time medical marijuana has officially been deemed kosher, which makes Vireo Health the first producer of kosher cannabis.

Medical cannabis products produced by Vireo Health in the state of New York will now be labeled with the Orthodox Union (OU)'s kosher symbol. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The OU decided that the medical marijuana produced by Vireo Health, one of five companies allowed to sell the medical cannabis in the state of New York, is kosher based on factors such as the fact that it is entirely free of insects.

"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 Health CEO Ari Hoffnung said in a statement.

"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," said Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the OU's Kosher Division.

According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, there are several manufacturers of medical cannabis in Israel, but none have been certified as kosher by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.

Posted on January 4, 2016 .