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Orthodox Union Dubs Medical Marijuana 'Mitzvah' For Jews

Update Date: Jan 01, 2016 07:56 PM EST

According its stamp of approval to a weed supplier, the Orthodox Union has said use of marijuana for medical purposes is mitzvah for sick Jews.

New York Daily News reports that Vireo Health of New York, one of the five suppliers that will provide cannabis in the state when it begins allowing legal sale of pot strictly for medical purposes later this month, obtained the union's certification that its marijuana is 'Kosher' or suitable for Jews. The approval came after nearly a year's deliberation over whether the supplier and its product met Jewish religious requirements.

"We are pleased to grant kosher certification to Vireo Health of New York's medical cannabis products which were developed to alleviate pain and suffering in accordance with the New York State Compassionate Care Act," said Rabbi Menachem Genack, Chief Executive Officer of OU Kosher, in a press release.

The rabbi said that observant Jews should not feel guilt when they use marijuana for medical purpose and should think of it as mitzvah or an imperative. Vice reports Vireo obtaining the union's approval was not surprising as Israel has allowed marijuana for medical purposes for nearly two decades.

"The announcement sends an important message to New Yorkers of all faiths and backgrounds that using medical cannabis to alleviate pain and suffering does not in any way represent an embrace of 'pot' culture. Patients should never feel guilty or ashamed for using a product recommended by their physicians," Ari Hoffnung, Vireo's CEO, said.


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