Is that pot kosher? Ap­par­ently it de­pends

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Isit kosher? That ques­tion may have never oc­curred to you about med­i­cal mar­i­juana, but now at least one busi­ness has an an­swer.

Vireo Health says its non­smok­able med­i­cal cannabis prod­ucts for sale in New York state have been cer­ti­fied as con­form­ing to Jewish di­etary law by the Ortho­dox Union.

Vireo says it’s the first time a med­i­cal cannabis prod­uct has been deemed kosher.

But if you ask Canada’s largest kosher cer­ti­fi­ca­tion agency, there’s no need to worry. The Kashruth Coun­cil of Canada ruled last week that the Jewish faith doesn’t re­quire sick peo­ple to con­sume kosher medicines, said man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Richard Rabkin. “We don’t re­ally want to get into the busi­ness of pro­vid­ing kosher cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for some­thing that is doc­tor-pre­scribed. We’re not go­ing to go down that path,” Rabkin told the Cana­dian Press. But Kosher Check, a global kosher cer­ti­fi­ca­tion agency head­quar­tered in Bri­tish Columbia, de­bated the is­sue two years ago and de­cided in fa­vor of cer­ti­fy­ing ed­i­ble med­i­cal pot prod­ucts.

Kosher Check’s Rabbi Mendy Feigel­stock said dried mar­i­juana that is smoked is au­to­mat­i­cally con­sid­ered kosher since it is a plant. How­ever, ed­i­ble prod­ucts in­clud­ing oils, cap­sules, brown­ies and cook­ies would need to be cer­ti­fied.

In New York state, the Ortho­dox Union says it awarded cer­ti­fi­ca­tion af­ter in­spect­ing Vireo’s fa­cil­i­ties to en­sure that the mar­i­juana was grown and pro­cessed ac­cord­ing to kosher stan­dards. Those in­clude, for ex­am­ple, in­sect-free plants.

Vireo says the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion will help the com­pany serve pa­tients among New York’s Jewish pop­u­la­tion, the na­tion’s largest. The pro­gram is slated to start this month and will serve pa­tients in the state with cer­tain qual­i­fy­ing con­di­tions.

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