Vireo Health of New York, one of five medical marijuana companies licensed in the Empire State, announced Wednesday that all of the company’s products produced there have been certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union.
Vireo officials hope the kosher certification will help attract Jewish medical cannabis patients and reduce the stigma associated with marijuana use.
New York’s medical cannabis laws allow only non-smokable marijuana products.
The certification process included visits by Orthodox Union rabbis to Vireo’s New York cannabis cultivation and lab sites. Union officials also met with company executives to verify kosher standards were being met.
The Orthodox Union is the world’s biggest kosher certification organization.
Vireo has four dispensaries in New York – Albany, Binghamton, Queens, and White Plains – that are scheduled to open in January.
“Judaism prioritizes health and encourages the use of medicine designed to improve one’s health or reduce pain,” said Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher, the union’s kosher certification arm.
In Maryland, a company applying for four dispensary licenses, Cannavations MD, also plans to sell kosher-certified cannabis should it win a license.
The Orthodox Union has been in talks with other cannabis producers interested in kosher certification, according to the Forward Association.