A New York company has announced all its medical cannabis products have been certified kosher by the world’s largest kosher certification agency.
Vireo Health has attained the coveted certification from Orthodox Union (OU) for its medicinal cannabis vaporization cartridges, oils and capsules.
It’s significant news, not just for the company, but for the wider medical marijuana industry.
“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 Health CEO Ari Hoffnung.
According to Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of OU Kosher, while Jewish law clearly sets aside the kosher status of a medicine in a life or death situation, in other situations it can be preferable or recommended that a medicine be certified.
To be certified kosher, a manufacturer must provide a list of all ingredients in the product and even cleaning agents used on machinery in the preparation of it. The certifying agency then conducts an audit to ensure sources and suppliers of these aspects are kosher. After this process, the agency’s rabbinic representatives perform a physical inspection of the manufacturing facilities.
If the company passes muster and agrees to observe some additional guidelines (plus pay the applicable fees); it is then able to display the kosher certification agency’s symbol.
While medical marijuana has officially cleared the kosher barrier in this instance, where does it stand in terms of halal; the set of rules governing any object or an action according to Islamic Sharia law?
It is apparently haram (religiously forbidden) for Muslims use narcotics in any way – however, some medical cannabis treatments don’t chemically qualify as narcotics. For example, cannabidiol (CBD) does not have a psychotropic effect and can be extracted from industrial hemp.
Even for treatments containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s psychoactive compound; it appears when used medicinally under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional it is halal (permitted).
According to a report on MuslimVibe, Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Sayyid Ali Khamenei, has stated with regard to narcotics generally:
“There is no objection to it provided that the treatment and the eventual recovery are dependent on their use and it is prescribed by a trustworthy physician.”
We’re not aware of any medical cannabis products to have achieved official halal certification as yet; but halal certified medicine programs certainly do exist in some countries.