Religion Magazine

The OU and Mehadrin Marijuana

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Rabbi Moshe Elefant of the Orthodox Union has reportedly said that the OU has been holding preliminary discussions with several companies that produce medical marijuana. It seems that the OU would be open to provide a hechsher for pot.
I don't think marijuana should need a hechsher. It is a plant that grows in the ground. What about that requires kashrut supervision? Maybe they will certify it as bug free, for those who won't be smoking it but making hash brownies? It seems to be a marketing ploy, similar to putting a hechsher on bleach or laundry detergent.
But that's ok. That's business. I don't like creating chumras out of people's ignorance for the sake of business and making money, but that's life.
The good part of this is that if we are in a position where the OU is willing to put its stamp of approval, if the companies are at the point where they are looking to market their product with the OU, it might indicate that we are on the cusp of a big breakout for marijuana.
Is a hechsher really needed for medical marijuana, if it is needed for marijuana at all? Is there a single person who has required medical marijuana, for medical purposes, that has refused to take it because it did not have a hechsher? Suddenly it needs a hechsher? Will this open them up to new markets? The patients buying it still have to get the necessary medical approvals, and  if they qualify they would have bought it with or without the OU. They seem, to me, to be angling, for when the marijuana becomes legal for more than just medical purposes but for general use. The companies might be positioning themselves for expansion to non-medical use, where the consumers might ask for the hechsher, and the OU might be positioning themselves for that expansion as well.
And that I like  - even though it seems the hechsher isn't needed for that purpose either, but I like what it indicates about the market...
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