US/World News

Canadian agency: Pot doesn’t need kosher certification

(JTA) — On the day kosher-certified medical marijuana first went on sale in New York, Canada’s largest kashrut agency said it believes such certification is unnecessary. Following a debate Jan. 7, the Kashruth Council of Canada announced that medication need not be kosher, The Canadian Press reported. Last month, Vireo Health of New York announced that the Orthodox Union, one of the largest kashrut agencies in the world, is certifying its medical marijuana products, which come in three forms: pills, oils and vapor. Canada’s Kashrut Council considered the issue after MedReleaf, a producer of medical marijuana, inquired about obtaining certification. “Something that is medicine, that’s prescribed from your doctor, that you need to take for your health, that doesn’t need kosher certification,” the group’s managing director, Richard Rabkin, told the Press.

Not all kashrut agencies are in agreement. In a statement on its website, the New York-based OU said, “While the cannabis plant is inherently kosher, the final product may contain kosher sensitive ingredients such as alcohol, gelatin and oil. The qualifying medical conditions are not always life-threatening, and even in such instances where there is a threat to life, it is preferable to use a kosher medication when available.”

Kosher Check, a global kosher certification agency headquartered in Canada’s British Columbia, decided two years ago in favor of certifying edible medical pot products, but has not yet certified any such products, according to The Canadian Press. A representative of the group said smokable marijuana does not need to be certified kosher, but that edible forms, including capsules, should be certified.

On Jan. 7, New York became the 23rd U.S. state where medical marijuana is legal. In Canada, all forms of medical marijuana are now legal.

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