New York – With marijuana now legal in varying degrees in more than 20 states, comes new business opportunities for those catering to the kosher consumer: rabbinically approved marijuana products.
As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2kIEVc5), the Orthodox Union certifies both marijuana vapor and oil as kosher for medicinal purposes. The kashrus agency has been also considering giving its stamp of approval to marijuana brownies, to be used for medicinal purposes only.
The Times of Israel reported that Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ruled last winter that although marijuana is technically considered to be kitniyos, it is acceptable for Pesach use for Jews of all backgrounds when used for medicinal purposes.
A YouTube video shows noted posek Rabbi Yitzchok Zilberstein and Rabbi Kanievsky discussing marijuana’s healing scent, with Rabbi Zilberstein making a Borei Minei Bsamim and smelling a bundle of marijuana leaves before offering them to Rabbi Kanievsky to smell as well.
In California, where marijuana has been legalized for both medicinal and recreational purposes, those looking for kosher marijuana edibles have several options according to LA Weekly.
Janice Hardoon, owner of the Koreatown Collective in Los Angeles, makes her own kosher marijuana products. While Hardoon does not have any formal rabbinical certification on her products, she said that people who know and trust her buy her line of marijuana edibles which include gummy bears, cinnamon buns, chocolate bars and beef jerky.
“We have very strict supervision,” Hardoon told VIN News. “People are very comfortable coming here. I have been doing this for 10 years and have a solid knowledge of medical marijuana.”
Hardoon said her best kosher sellers are marijuana laced brownies and sour patch candies, which sell for $5 each.
Kaiya Bercow is the co-founder of Utopia Farms which doesn’t target the kosher consumer but does sell “kosher friendly” marijuana macaroons in California. The macaroons, made with marijuana infused coconut oil, are available in four flavors: chocolate, vanilla, chocolate and raspberry. Described as a vegan alternative to “artificial and sugary edibles” and “a nutritional way to medicate” the Utopia Farms website proudly proclaims “These macaroons will take you higher.”
From those who grow the plants, to those who pack the finished edible products, everyone involved in the manufacturing process at Gan-Jah, a shomer Shabbos marijuana farm, is an Orthodox Jew.
“I do think there is a place in Jewish practice for cannabis,” said Yerachmiel Johnson, founder of Gan-Jah. “Everything has its sacred purpose at the right time.”
Thing are different in New York, where marijuana is not approved for recreational use, leaving those who want to go that route to resort to black market marijuana.
Cholent laced-marijuana was reportedly being served up on at least one Shabbos last summer in upstate New York. Tasters were warned that they might expect to feel “a little weird” after eating the concoction, which was made with marijuana oil.
“Don’t worry,” said the young man handing out the cholent. “It’ll just get you into the spirit of Shabbos.”