a very prevalent question is always asked to me regarding if cannabis needs kosher certification? so the classic answer as any jewish law goes is “it depends.” if we start out at the inception of the plant we know from Torah law that any vegetation does not need kosher certification. however we do have strict laws about eating insects.
when i am in meeting with clients i always play this game with them. if someone were to sit me down in a room and put a gun to my head and say “Jew Boy!” you gonna eat one of these things or we gonna will kill you.” (according to Jewish law i am allowed to eat a non kosher item. i can break the law in a life threatening situation.) so they sit me down and place on the table in front of me a ham sandwich, a cheeseburger and a chocolate covered ant. they say “eat one or die.” so i am going to pick the least of the evils and eat it. which one would i pick? so i go around the room asking all the non jews which one do they think. many of them say the ant. usually because its so small. but the answer is its the ham sandwich. the reason being is that it is mentioned only once not to eat pork. it is mentioned three times not to eat a mixture of milk and meat and it is mentioned five times about a bug. boom! bugs are strictly forbidden. so proper measures need to be taken to insure its bug free. i have never seen a bug in a pot plant. have you? usually green leafy vegetables and fruits contain bugs and each plant had its own manner of inspection.
so in our situation with the marijuana plant there needs to be an inspection to see if there is any infestation in the plants themselves. however that is only if one is going to eat the plant like as it by either putting it his salad or what have you.
if one is going to extract from it, then it makes it a different story. the solvents used in doing the extraction must come from a kosher source. if alcohol is used or some other element to break the plant down to make oil that element must be verified that it comes from a kosher source.
the next item in question is any machinery that the cannabis material comes in contact with must be dedicated equipment. if it is used for non kosher material, then chances are that the equipment is contaminated and that would in turn render the cannabis product not kosher. for example if one uses a pot to boil up the buds to make an extract or an oil. if that pot was used at one time to cook pork in, then that pot is not kosher to make your cannabis product in.
all machinery must not have come into contact with non kosher contaminants.
once that is established, then for those who make brownies or candies should be easy. lets say they take the buds and fry them in butter or oil and the THC goes into the butter or oil then you want to make brownies or cake. all good assuming all the other ingredients are kosher. mostly all store bought butter and oil is kosher. white sugar is assumed to be kosher. eggs can be an issue if they are brown eggs. white eggs are easier to make sure they are kosher. and voila. you are kosher certified! really marijuana products should be the easiest to be kosher certified and to maintain kosher certification and should cost a lot.
if the manufacturer is not making anything else on the premises it should be a “no-brainer.” I’ve been to one place in northern California which candies were being produced and presented no problem. in conclusion to make cannabis products kosher should be easy and therefore very affordable.
contact Rabbi Yaakov Cohen if you are interested in having your cannabis edible or food product kosher certified at [email protected]