For the first time in its history, Canada will be providing its Jewish community with some Kosher Kush—and we’re not talking about the strain.
Just in time for the Jewish New Year, better known as Rosh Hashanah, the Gatineau-based medical marijuana company Hydropothecary Corporation has received the first-ever Canadian Kosher certification from Rabbi Levy Teitlebaum, the director of Ottawa Vaad HaKashrut.
According to the official press release, the certification “covers its ready-to-consume marijuana powder product line, cannabis peppermint oil and milled products.”
While the plants themselves are intrinsically kosher, the manufacturing process and any animal or plant-based additives have to answer to a higher authority. This includes the equipment used to process the plants, third-party ingredients used to make edibles, as well as certain packaging materials.
Every Hydropothecary product will receive a Kosher-certified symbol to confirm they adhere to kashrut or Jewish dietary law. CEO Sébastien St-Louis claims the kosher certification is a reflection of the company’s “emphasis on rigorous testing, independent third-party oversight and our focus on easy-to-use product innovations.”
Teitlebaum himself believes that the kosher certification coalesces two important Jewish values.
“What this certification shows is the value placed on proper etiquette for kosher and for being able to care for people.” Teitelbaum said. “That is a beautiful harmony between the Council and Hydropothecary.”
Although the Ottawa-based rabbi approved the certification for medical marijuana, he stopped short of endorsing the prospect of verifying recreational cannabis, which is expected to become legal in Canada by 2018.
“Medical products required for health and well-being are eligible for kosher certification,” Teitlebaum said. “With legalization of marijuana for recreational use, however, we will have to consider the ethics of using a product simply for enjoyment.”
Final Hit: Kosher Weed Arrives Just In Time for Rosh Hashanah
While the certification of medicinal cannabis is certainly a fun story, it also shows savvy marketing on the part of Hydropothecary. In the rapidly expanding cannabis industry, it’s vital to corner niche markets this early in the game.
“You’re seeing companies looking for creative ways to distinguish themselves, but also just interesting ways to appeal to different types of consumers,” according to Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, per the New York Times.
Regardless of motive, it is interesting to see medicinal cannabis embraced in religious communities. As more and more states, and even countries, continue to legalize the plant, it’s only a matter of time before stories like this become a cultural commonplace.