Tags: Marijuana | New York | Orthodox | kosher marijuana | Moshe Elefant

Rabbi Working to Make Kosher Pot Available in New York

By    |   Tuesday, 24 February 2015 01:23 PM

Since last year, medical marijuana has been legal in New York, but not religiously legit for Orthodox, kosher-observing Jews.

The problem isn't the pot which, as a plant, is automatically kosher. But since New York law does not allow the smoking of marijuana, only its ingestion in cookies, oil, brownies or drinks, the other ingredients in the preparations need kosher certification in order for kosher-observant Jews to be able to use them, the New York Post reports.

However, all that is about to change. Rabbi Moshe Elefant of the Orthodox Union, which operates a kosher certification program, has been meeting with representatives of several Colorado marijuana manufacturing factories to determine if kosher-certified marijuana can be made available in the Empire State, MSNBC reports.

Kosher marijuana products already are available in Israel, where about 11,000 patients use them, including by smoking, the Jewish Daily Forward reports.

ProCon.org reports that 23 states currently allow medical marijuana and that New York allows prescribing for "cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage causing spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, or Huntington's disease." The Department of Health commissioner will determine if Alzheimer's, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, PTSD and rheumatoid arthritis will be added to the list.

Currently, four states — Colorado, Alaska, Washington State and Oregon — as well as Washington, D.C., allow recreational use of marijuana, The Huffington Post reports, with pending legislation in several other states, while the drug remains illegal under federal law.

Medical marijuana will go on sale next year in New York, MSNBC notes, and Rabbi Elefant told the Daily Forward that his organization "would not have a problem certifying" medical marijuana.

Elefant told the Post he has "no personal experience with marijuana," but said of the discussions with the pot growers, "we found it fascinating actually, and we believe there's room for this in the world of kosher certification."

Not all branches of the Jewish faith agree.

While Ean Seeb, owner of a Colorado marijuana dispensary and board member of the Anti-Defamation League and the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, told the Daily Forward: "We have shown here in Colorado that you can effectuate social change without the world crashing down on you," several denominations, including the orthodox Chabad-Lubavitch movement, ban the use of marijuana, kosher or non-kosher.

But at Yeshiva University in New York, Rabbi J. David Bleich called medical marijuana "a perfectly acceptable use of a plant that grows in God's garden," the Daily Forward reports.

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Since last year, medical marijuana has been legal in New York, but not religiously legit for Orthodox, kosher-observing Jews.
New York, Orthodox, kosher marijuana, Moshe Elefant
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 01:23 PM
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