TIME: NOW YOU CAN BUY KOSHER MARIJUANA

Vireo Health received kosher certification in New York

The medical marijuana company Vireo Health in New York has received kosher certification.

Vireo’s vaporization cartridges, oils and capsules will be dispensed with a stamp of approval from Orthodox Union, the Times Union reports.

“Today’s [Wednesday’s] announcement sends a really powerful message to people of all faiths and backgrounds that using medical cannabis for the purposes of alleviating pain and suffering in no way, shape or form represents an embrace of pot culture,” said Ari Hoffnung, Vireo’s CEO.

Read Time’s full article here.

NEWSWEEK: NEW YORK STATE WILL SOON HAVE MEDICAL MARIJUANA THAT’S CERTIFIED KOSHER

Any potential medical marijuana users in New York state who were concerned that partaking in pot for health purposes might clash with Judaism can stop shvitzing. The Orthodox Union has certified the marijuana products made by Vireo Health of New York as kosher, the latter announced Wednesday.

“Being certified kosher by the OU will not only help us serve the dietary needs of the largest Jewish community in the United States, but also combat unfortunate stigmas associated with medical cannabis,” Ari Hoffnung, Vireo’s CEO, is quoted as saying in the company’s press release announcing the certification, which applies to the company’s vaporization cartridges, oils and capsules. “Today’s announcement sends an important message to New Yorkers of all faiths and backgrounds,” he added. “Patients should never feel guilty or ashamed for using a product recommended by their physicians.”

Read Newsweek’s full article here.

THE JOURNAL NEWS: KOSHER MEDICAL MARIJUANA COMING TO NY

One of the five companies in New York licensed to manufacture medical marijuana in New York will have its products certified as kosher.

Vireo Health of New York, which is manufacturing its medical marijuana in non-smokeable forms in the Mohawk Valley, said this week that all of the company’s products in New York have been certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union, the largest kosher certification agency.

The trademarked ‘OU’ symbol will appear on the medical cannabis products, such as oils and capsules, that are set for distribution next month at its four dispensaries in White Plains, Queens, Binghamton and Albany.

“Being certified kosher by the OU will not only help us serve the dietary needs of the largest Jewish community in the United States, but also combat unfortunate stigmas associated with medical cannabis,” said Ari Hoffnung, the company’s CEO, in a statement.

Read The Journal News’ article.

NEW YORK BUSINESS JOURNAL: CAN NY MEDICAL CANNABIS BE KOSHER?

A subsidiary of Minneapolis-based Vireo Health is launching Kosher-certified medical marijuana products in New York.

The Orthodox Union certified Vireo Health of New York’s products as Kosher after dispatching rabbis to inspect the company’s cannabis facility, Vireo said in a news release.

Read the New York Business Journal’s full article here. 

DAILY NEWS: KOSHER CANNABIS

NY MEDICAL POT GROWER SAYS PRODUCTS ARE CERTIFIED BY THE ORTHODOX UNION

ALBANY — This pot is kosher!

A marijuana grower gearing up for the start of New York’s medical pot program in January announced Wednesday that its products have been certified kosher by the Orthodox Union.

Vireo Health of New York, which was one of five companies chosen by the state to grow and distribute medical pot, said it will be the first “medical cannabis company in the world” to have the “OU” symbol on its oils, vaporization cartridges and other products.

Read the Daily News’ full article here.

THE NEW YORK TIMES: COMPANY: WILL OFFER NY WORLD’S 1ST CERTIFIED KOSHER POT

ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York company says it will soon offer the first certified kosher medical pot.

Vireo Health says its non-smokable medical cannabis products have been certified as conforming to the Jewish dietary law by the Orthodox Union.

Vireo says it’s the first time a medical cannabis product has been deemed kosher.

Read the full article here.

VIREO HEALTH OF NEW YORK’S MEDICAL CANNABIS PRODUCTS FIRST IN WORLD CERTIFIED KOSHER BY THE ORTHODOX UNION

For Immediate Release

December 30, 2015

Media Contact: Jill Montag – (518) 326-6400 and (518) 852-8188

Vireo Health of New York’s Medical Cannabis Products First in

World Certified as Kosher by the Orthodox Union

‘OU’ Symbol to Appear on Company’s Medical Vaporization Cartridges, Oils and Capsules

New York, NY – Vireo Health of New York (“Vireo”), one of only five companies licensed by the New York State Department of Health to produce and sell medical cannabis, announced today that all of the company’s products produced in New York have been certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union (“OU”), the world’s largest and most widely recognized kosher certification agency.

The trademarked ‘OU’ symbol will appear for the first time ever on medical cannabis products, including the Company’s vaporization cartridges, oils and capsules. These products will be made available for purchase to qualifying patients in Vireo’s four New York State retail dispensaries, scheduled to open in January, in White Plains, Queens, Binghamton and Albany.

“Being certified kosher by the OU will not only help us serve the dietary needs of the largest Jewish community in the United States, but also combat unfortunate stigmas associated with medical cannabis,” said Ari Hoffnung, Chief Executive Officer of Vireo Health of New York. “Today’s 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.”

“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. “Judaism prioritizes health and encourages the use of medicine designed to improve one’s health or reduce pain. Using medical cannabis products recommended by a physician should not be regarded as a chet, a sinful act, but rather as a mitzvah, an imperative, a commandment.”

“We are thrilled to be the first medical cannabis company in the world to join companies like Novartis and Pfizer that choose the OU for their kosher certification,” said Dr. Kyle Kingsley, Chief Executive Officer of Vireo Health, the parent company of Vireo Health of New York and Minnesota Medical Solutions. “Vireo and the OU both share a deep commitment to rigorous quality standards, and we look forward to broadening our relationship as we expand our operations into other states.”

“We are delighted to have Vireo’s medical cannabis products join nearly one million other products worldwide that we certify as kosher,” said Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Chief Operating Officer of OU Kosher. “In a life or death situation, Jewish law clearly sets aside the kosher status of a medicine, but in other cases, it is preferable and sometimes recommended that a medicine be certified kosher. We commend Vireo Health of New York for taking this step and making this commitment to the Jewish community.”

Prior to being awarded kosher certification, OU Kosher leadership held extensive conversations with the company’s senior management. OU Kosher’s rabbinic field representatives then visited Vireo’s medical cannabis cultivation and lab facilities, located in Fulton County, New York, for inspection and verification, to assure that all OU Kosher standards and policies were in place.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis. Nationally, more than 1.1 million patients have registered for their state programs, and nearly 150 million Americans live in states with laws allowing for the medicinal use of cannabis.

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About Vireo Health of New York

Vireo Health of New York, formerly Empire State Health Solutions, is a physician-led company dedicated to providing best-in-class cannabis-based medications and top quality patient care. The company provides a wide array of pharmaceutical grade cannabis-based products formulated from the highest quality, pesticide-free plants and utilizes its separation chemistry capabilities to create products with novel cannabinoid combinations. Vireo Health of New York is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vireo Health, LLC. For more information, visit http://www.vireohealthny.com.

About the OU Kosher

The OU (Orthodox Union) Kosher is the world’s largest and most widely recognized kosher certification agency, certifying close to 1,000,000 products produced in over 8,000 plants located in 80 countries around the world. The OU, termed a “coveted seal of approval” by The New York Times, is one of the world’s best-known trademarks. Comparing it to the UL®, Forbes magazine wrote, “If you want to know your food is kosher, you can look for the Orthodox Union’s OU symbol.”

Many of the food industry’s most recognized brands, large and small, choose the OU for their kosher certification, including: ADM, Avebe, Best Foods, Cargill, Cerestar, Coca-Cola, Cognis, Peter Cremer, Danisco, Dean Foods, DSM, General Mills, Haarmann & Reimer, Chr. Hansen, Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical, H.J. Heinz, Hershey’s, Kraft/Nabisco, McCormick & Co., Nestlé, Novartis, Procter & Gamble, Pillsbury, Quest, Reynolds Aluminum, Rhodia, Unilever and thousands more. For more information, visit http://www.ou.org.

About the New York State Compassionate Care Act

New York State Governor Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act into law on July 5, 2014. It allows patients to use medical cannabis if they have been diagnosed with a specific severe, debilitating or life threatening condition that is accompanied by an associated or complicating condition.

The law identifies several severe, debilitating or life threatening conditions including: cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and epilepsy. The associated or complicating conditions are cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or severe or persistent muscle spasms.

Physicians must complete a four-hour New York State Department of Health approved course and register with the Department to certify patients. Practitioners must consult the New York State Prescription Monitoring Program Registry prior to issuing a certification to a patient for medical cannabis.

Patients who are certified by their practitioners must apply to the Department to obtain a registry identification card in order to obtain medical cannabis in accordance with any recommendations made by the patient’s practitioner. During the patient registration process, certified patients may designate up to two caregivers, who must also register with the Department, to obtain and administer medical cannabis products on behalf of the patients.

Registered organizations may only manufacture medical cannabis products in forms approved by the Commissioner. Approved forms currently include liquid or oil preparations for metered oromucosal or sublingual administration or administration per tube, metered liquid or oil preparations for vaporization, and capsules for oral administration. The Compassionate Care Act expressly provides that a certified medical use of cannabis does not include smoking. For more information, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/.

 

STAR TRIBUNE: PATIENTS CELEBRATE FIRST MONTHS OF MINNESOTA’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM

Minnesota’s first medical marijuana patients say the relief they’ve gotten from their newly legalized medication has been worth the high prices, long drives and awkward conversations.

“The change in my life has been incredible,” said Marguerite Norton Furlong of Mahtomedi, who enrolled in the program in August to treat her Crohn’s disease and muscle spasms. “I pretty much went from not being able to leave my house … for me to be sitting here, at this time of the day, talking with all of you, is a very happy day.”

Norton Furlong was one of five patients who gathered Monday at Minnesota Medical Solutions’ clinic in downtown Minneapolis to share their experiences with medical cannabis in the hope of easing some of the lingering stigma that still surrounds the drug.

Read the Star Tribune’s full article here.

KARE-TV: MEDICAL CANNABIS PATIENTS SHARE SUCCESSES, STRUGGLES

MINNEAPOLIS – Six months into Minnesota’s medical cannabis program, Minnesota Medical Solutions, a Minneapolis-based producer of medical cannabis, shared successes and struggles in the program’s launch.

Dr. Laura Bultman, MinnMed Chief Medical Officer, called it slow and steady progress, citing the company would expand two dispensaries in 2016, one in Moorhead, another in Twin Cities suburbs.

She said MinnMed would also focus on more outreach and education to address the stigma of the program and to boost sluggish enrollment.

“The biggest lesson we have learned is being responsive and listening to patients,” said Dr. Bultman. “The biggest success is working in tight timelines and working with wide variety of medications. We’ve seen hundreds of patients having success and that is what it is all about.”

Watch KARE-TV’s full story here.

WCCO-TV: MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS DISCUSS STATE OF PROGRAM IN MINN.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s medical cannabis program has now been treating patients for six months.

As of Monday, the state’s registry had 847 people with suffering with different types of chronic illnesses who are qualified to try medical cannabis as an option for relief.

Some of those patients gathered in Minneapolis Monday afternoon to discuss how their lives have changed and how the state’s program is set to expand.

MinnMed Chief medical officer Dr. Laura Bultman runs two patient treatment centers in Minneapolis and Rochester. She says her team has treated 561 patients so far.

“These are real patients just like your neighbors, your moms or dads,” she said.

Bultman said while medical cannabis does not work for everyone, she has seen many stories of improved comfort and health for her patients.

Watch WCCO-TV’s full story here.