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article imageN.Y. company to offer world's first certified kosher medical pot

By Karen Graham     Dec 30, 2015 in Health
New York - A New York company announced on Wednesday it will be the first “medical cannabis company in the world” to have the Orthodox Union's symbol on its oils, and other products, certifying they are made in accordance with Jewish dietary laws.
Vireo Health of new York, one of five companies licensed by the New York State Department of Health to produce and sell medical cannabis, announced on Wednesday that all the company's products produced in New York have been certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union (“OU”), the world’s largest and most widely recognized kosher certification agency, according to a company press release.
“Being certified kosher by the OU will not only help us serve the dietary needs of the largest Jewish community in the United States but also combat unfortunate stigmas associated with medical cannabis,” said Vireo CEO Ari Hoffnung. Vireos marijuana products are non-smokable medical cannabis products.
Vireo operates a growing facility in upstate new York and has plans to open a dispensary in Queens sometime in January. Rabbi Menachem Genack, the chief executive officer of OU Kosher, told the New York Daily News 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.”
ABC News is reporting the Orthodox Union says the company's facilities were inspected to ensure the marijuana was grown and processed according to kosher standards first. Some of the standards include the plants being free of insects.
Under New York law, medical marijuana may be used to treat 10 serious medical conditions, including cancer, HIV and AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, epilepsy, some spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis.
The OU (Orthodox Union) Kosher is the world's largest and most respected kosher certification agency. The OU's coveted seal of approval is found on close to 1,000,000 products produced in over 8,000 plants located in 80 countries around the world.
Many of the brands consumers choose in their grocery stores and pharmacies every day bear the OU certification symbol, including products from Best Foods, Cargill, Cerestar, Coca-Cola, Dean Foods, DSM, General Mills, Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical, H.J. Heinz, Hershey’s, Kraft/Nabisco, McCormick & Co., Nestlé, Novartis, Procter & Gamble, Pillsbury, Quest, Reynolds Aluminum, Rhodia, Unilever, and thousands more.
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