You mean even pot can be kosher? Food products with cannabis that meet strict Jewish dietary standards are considered kosher edibles. As a plant, marijuana would not normally require rabbinical approval to eat it. Like lettuce, cannabis bud itself is kosher by default as long as it’s insect-free. But marijuana edibles, which are THC-infused food and beverages, require a full certification process by the Orthodox Union.
According to Forward, “Orthodox rabbis appear to have accepted the medical benefits of cannabis, they remain much more cautious about recreational marijuana. Most Orthodox rabbis say it’s strictly prohibited.”
This means that there are some very cool rabbis out there approving kosher cannabis for the Orthodox community. And since making fire is religiously prohibited on the Sabbath, for those who want to medicate or get high during this time, kosher edibles are a necessity.
The Pioneer in Kosher Cannabis
The first company to be approved for kosher hemp or cannabis in the U.S. was Vireo Health of New York in 2015. It was one of five companies chosen by the state to grow and distribute medical pot. Vireo claims it was the first “medical cannabis company in the world” to have its “OU” (Orthodox Union) symbol on its oils, vaporization cartridges and other products.
Rabbi Menachem Genack, chief executive officer of OU Kosher, told the Daily News that 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.”
“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.”
The Birth of the Orthodox Approved Pot Brownie
Before big hemp companies like GenCanna came on to the market with a sophisticated line of kosher edibles for Jews and non-Jews alike, Mitzva Herbal in Los Angeles, CA offered the best certified OU pot brownie in town.
Founded in 2017, they sold marijuana edibles that also included cookies and candies to those with a valid prescription. It was founded by Shifra and Alex Klein who researched and used medical cannabis to help their son with autism and daughter with severe ADHD.“When we started doing research and saw how much it is helping [our kids] and others, we really wanted to explore that for other people that were not well in our community,” Shifra Klein told The Jerusalem Post.
FDA Approved Kosher Hemp Now Available
Since the majority of cannabis edibles are not inspected by the FDA and are practically underground, large companies like Utopia Farms in California are promoting quality and purity in their foods with the kosher label. Recently the Kentucky-based industrial hemp producer GenCanna announced that they´re promoting their hemp-derived products as certified kosher by Kentucky Kosher International.
Since many people are aware that kosher means quality, companies like GenCanna are demystifying cannabis food production for the wary. Along with the kosher certification, GenCanna’s process and products claim to be non-GMO, gluten free, vegan, and registered and inspected by the Food and Drug Administration and the Kentucky Food Safety Branch.
It seems kosher edibles are on their way to becoming commonplace for both Orthodox practitioners and for those who simply wanted to join in on the good quality and spirit of this ordained high.
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