Only in New York: Kosher Cannabis for Medical Use

Amy Jacob

,
Gale Scott

Just in time for the legalization of medical marijuana to take effect in New York, one cannabis distributor has gotten Kosher status for its products.

Just in time for the legalization of medical marijuana to take effect in New York, one cannabis distributor has gotten Kosher status for its products.

In New York, the Orthodox Union, an organization that checks and certifies edible products to see if religious standards are met in their preparation, announced it will certify products from Vireo Health. Based in Minneapolis, MN, the company has a facility in Upstate New York.

Vireo is one of five providers of cannabis products certified to operate in New York’s programs.

Medical marijuana is now available in the state. The change was ushered with a simple ribbon cutting Thursday morning.

The first legal marijuana dispensary opened on East 14th Street, but so far there have not yet been any scheduled patients.

While the dispensary does not sell any smokable weed, it provides oil administered under the tongue, and eventually will sell marijuana in a pill form. According to Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care of New York, “There will be no recreational semblance at all, including any edible products.”

To gain access to the prescription, patients, with qualifying conditions, are required to apply for a registry identification card and should receive their medication at a state-regulated dispensary.

At the East Village office, medical marijuana will cost approximately 95 cents per dose and is not covered by Medicaid or private insurance.

As for the issue of whether kosher certification is necessary, the Orthodox Union posted a statement today on its site explaining its reasoning.

“While the cannabis plant is inherently kosher, the final product may contain kosher sensitive ingredients such as alcohol, gelatin and oil,” the organization said.

At present, 23 states and DC now have comprehensive legalized medical marijuana programs and four states and DC have legalized marijuana for recreational use — New York’s is considered one of the most strictly regulated.

(MD Magazine graphic by Ray Pelesko)