When it comes to marijuana and whether or not it should be permitted, the discussion is mainly centered on the federal government and its legalization of the substance. In actuality, there are many laws, practices and even dietary restrictions. Take the Jewish religion and its concept and practice of traditional law and kosher guidelines, for example.
In order for a food product to get the familiar kosher label we see on all sorts of products, it must be, by Merriam-Webster’s definition, sanctioned by and ritually fit according to Jewish law. When most non-kosher individuals think of kosher, they likely know that pork, shellfish and the mix of meat and dairy are all non-kosher, but in reality kosher goes deeper than this.
Certifying food as kosher goes so far as to examine the equipment used to prepare items all the way to inspecting for possible remnants that can be found in the food items themselves. With these strict guidelines, one has to wonder if marijuana is considered kosher.
Insects pose a problem
Insects can cause all sorts of issues with marijuana – they can even kill a plant. One problem caused by insects that is lesser known, is that they can render marijuana non-kosher. This is because according to The Torah (Leviticus 11:42) “All the things that swarm upon the earth are an abomination; they shall not be eaten.” This translates to insects not being kosher when eaten.
Sure, insects are not on most food menus, but unprocessed marijuana might have bugs inside the buds and elsewhere. Also, unless factories that produce edibles are inspected for these types of issues, it is difficult to put a kosher stamp of approval on them.
One way around this is to smoke, rather than eat, marijuana that is not stamped with a kosher or insect free certification. Since the kosher law refers to eating and consumption in that regard, it is safe to burn them up – just don’t digest them.
Kosher certified weed
Some brands have begun to kosher certify their marijuana products. This is a way to put the jewish community at ease when consuming edibles, which are widely popular in both recreational and medical marijuana circles. One of the key elements of certifying a product as kosher is confirmation of practices. In other words, you need to enlist an impartial and observant set of eyes to inspect and confirm clean and thorough production practices.
This is critical, as it means a kosher stamp not only confirms a product is safe for a kosher-practicing individual to consume, but it also puts people on other strict diets, like vegans, halal and others, at ease. Confirming that there is a third-party verifying factory practices allows all sorts of strict dieters to know the label information is accurate.
Joe Hodas, the chief marketing officer of Wana Brands, a marijuana company that produces kosher products, told Forbes that the kosher certification indicates to the consumer that the products are made in a clean and reliable environment. “And because many certifications such as USDA Organic are unavailable for cannabis products and facilities, kosher certification illustrates the care that Wana takes to provide premium products to its customers,” according to the article. This shows that taking the steps to make weed products kosher actually opens your product up to all sorts of dietarily-restricted individuals.
A leaf is a leaf, a law is a law
One last important factor to consider in regards to marijuana being kosher concerns the law. Part of Jewish law requires that its followers also follow all the civil laws where they reside (as long as they don’t contradict the laws of the religion).
“Therefore, in addition to whatever Judaism says about marijuana, Jewish law demands an obedience to the authority of civil law. If it’s illegal to possess or use marijuana, it’s also against Jewish law,” according to aish. So, make sure you are not breaking the American law when you use cannabis, or you may also be breaking Jewish law.
When it comes down to it, as long as marijuana is in its pure form and free of bugs, it should be safe to consume if you are kosher. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, “If we would know that the product in question contains just leaves and that there was no unkosher residue on the processing equipment, it would not need certification, like plain unflavored tea.”
So, while most of the weed you smoke and consume will likely be kosher, when you see a kosher label on one of your cannabis products you can rest assured that an extra set of eyes has certified your product as clean and properly made.