August 6, 2018

Kosher Certification for Cannabis Grows, But for Medicinal Purpose Only…For Now

Baltimore...US producers of Cannabis are hoping that kosher certifiers will eventually grant kosher certification for other than medicinal purposes. Such a policy change would greatly add to their bottom line, although most kosher consumers are unlikely to use the cannabis for recreational purposes. According to Rabbi Michoel Glaser, a resident of Baltimore and founder of the Kosher Cannabis Council, his group of rabbis is certifying plants in Nevada, California, Colorado, Utah, and Maryland. Rabbi Glaser’s partner’s father required the cannabis when he suffered from an inoperable brain tumor, leading to the creation of the Council. “Only the cannabis relieved his pain,” said Rabbi Glaser. The partner himself later died from cancer. The Council (now known as Cloud-K) works closely with Tikun Olam, the largest kosher cannabis group in Israel for medical cannabis.

Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of the Kashrus Division of the Orthodox Union (OU) said his agency certifies the production of cannabis “but only for medical purposes.” That seems to be the consensus of most rabbis in kashrus. Rabbi Glaser, who has worked with many of the largest kashrus agencies, said: “we simply cannot make kosher cannabis as popular as kosher candy.” The producers, on the other hand, are hoping that the market will significantly increase one day with a nod from rabbis for recreational use. According to the rabbis, that day is far off.