Brooklyn, NY - Chassidic-Owned Medical Marijuana Company Says Its Products Will Be Glatt Kosher
Brooklyn, NY - New York Growing Partners, a company vying for one of five New York State medical marijuana licenses, is billing itself as a glatt kosher company in its bid to earn one of the coveted licenses, according to a follow-up report in The Jewish Week (http://bit.ly/1Kg58aL). A total of 43 companies have submitted an application.
As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/1NjHUQc), the company’s principals include Michael Melnicke, a Ger chasid and nursing home entrepreneur, and Satmar chasid Leo Friedman.
Melnicke and Friedman have teamed up with Alexander Solovey and Pat (Pasquale) DeBenedictis for this venture, both of whom own several nursing home enterprises.
The mayor of Schenectady wrote a letter in support of the company’s license application to the state health department, saying, “New York has the largest Jewish population of any state in the U.S., and a large percentage of that population observes kosher customs. By aligning its manufacturing/production processes with Kashrut . . ., the company is “ensuring that all New Yorkers who could benefit from pain-management qualities of medical marijuana have access without having to go against the tenets of their religion.”
Zimmerman/Edelson, the PR firm retained by New York Growing Partners, requested additional letters of support from the County Executive of Ulster County where the company plans to set up its production facilities. Also solicited was the Saugerties town supervisor, where the company plans to use 12 acres of “shovel ready” land for their business.
New York’s medical marijuana law only permits marijuana to be dispensed in a non-smokable form, including vapors, pills, and oils. It cannot be placed into “edible food products” without express permission from the state health commissioner.
A halachic authority on medical ethics and professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University’s REITS program, Rabbi J. David Bleich said that medication in a pill form does not need kosher supervision, though liquids and capsules can present kashrut issues.
He said unless marijuana has in some way been “adulterated,” it does not require kosher certification in its vapor or oil forms. “Once marijuana is in a cookie,” however, “it is not different from any other cookie and a cookie needs certification,” Rabbi Bleich added. He also noted that any “medicine ought to be presented in kosher form, if possible, and I don’t know why medical marijuana can’t be since the basic ingredient is ‘glatt kosher.’”
Rabbi Moshe Elefant, who heads up the Orthodox Union’s kosher certification division, has said publicly that his agency is considering certifying medical marijuana.
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