• Marijuana Plant

Marijuana Plant (Photo : Reuters/Anthony Bolante)

Kosher-certified medical marijuana will soon be available to severely ill people in New York state who need the natural remedy. Vireo Health has reported its cannabis capsules and vaporization cartridges were approved by the Orthodox Union, verifying that the pot products meet strict religious standards.

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The Orthodox Union is one of the world's leading authorities about which products can be certified as kosher or non-kosher, according to TimesUnion. In fact, its OU stamp of approval will appear on Vireo's products.  

Ari Hoffnung is Vireo Health-New York's president. He shared that this is the first time that Orthodox Union has certified any medical cannabis product as kosher.

Rabbi Moshe Elefant of Orthodox Union explained the certification of marijuana is similar to the process of certifying food. They examined the product's ingredients to verify that they are fruits, vegetables, herbs, and plants that are classified as kosher when harvested.

Hoffnung pointed out that the weed could be used for very serious medical conditions. They include multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson's, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.

In addition, Hoffnung noted that the announcement is important for people of all backgrounds and faiths in terms of reducing pain and suffering. However, it does not promote "pot culture."

The company was one of five chosen by New York state to provide non-smokable medical pot products for patients with certain medical conditions. They have been licensed to grow, make, and sell medical cannabis in the Empire State.  

Four dispensaries will open during January of next year. They will be located in Albany, Binghamton,  Queens, and White Plains, according to CBS New York.  

It is unclear how the kosher certification will apply to the marijuana products, as New York's regulations include no rules about adhering to religious customs. However, it could be a factor as New York has the United States' largest Jewish community.