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Holy Weed in Elmhurst, Queens!

The weed at Vireo Health must be good. Their dealers report to a Higher Authority.

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Kosher Marijuana

 

Take your medical marijuana guilt free with the products at Vireo Health, located at 85-55 Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, Queens.

Styling his company as the first Orthodox Union certified kosher medical marijuana outfit in the world, CEO Ari Hoffnung says, “This 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.”

Jewish guilt, Catholic guilt, Protestant guilt, Buddhist guilt—put it aside says Hoffnung, a former deputy comptroller for the city under John Liu. “Patients should never feel guilty or ashamed for using a product recommend by their physicians." Indeed, Rabbi Menachen Genack, the CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division, says that relieving suffering with doctor prescribed marijuana is a good deed, “a mitzvah, an imperative, a command…”

But wait a minute! Isn’t all marijuana naturally kosher? The marijuana, or cannabis in science-speak, is raised surrounded by the natural beauty of the Adirondack Park in Fulton County. The Orthodox Union admits that “cannabis is inherently kosher.” However, on its website, the kosher brokers warn that marijuana can be adulterated in the process of production. (Okay, I think some of my friends in Berkeley were well of that problem!)  The Orthodox Union observes that some cannabis might contain alcohol, gelatin, and oil, which nixes its kosher purity unless a life-threatening condition forces the imbibing. The plants also have to be insect free to be kosher.  That seems like a pretty good advertisement for the kosher weed.

 

Kosher Marijuana store anticipates big business next to the Queens Center Mall. Photo: Tony Carnes/A Journey through NYC religions

Kosher marijuana store Vireo Health anticipates big business next to the Queens Center Mall. Photo: Tony Carnes/A Journey through NYC religions

Several Jewish philanthropists are notable for their promotion of the legalization of the medical as well as the  recreational use of marijuana. These include Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer,  investors George Soros and the late Peter Lewis. However, the Orthodox are distinctly unenthusiastic about the recreational aspect, calling it “pot culture,” which can lead to bad judgment and behavior antithetical to Jewish values. The Jews, who closely follow Jewish law, don’t see the same problems with a drug to help a medical condition. There are several other kosher certification agencies, and they are discussing on whether to approve kosher medical marijuana.

The medical cannabis provider Tikun Olam told the newspaper Haaretz that there are about 20,000 patients using prescription cannabis in Israel.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act into law in July 2014, allowing the use of medical cannabis in certain severe medical conditions. New York was the twenty-third state to legalize the distribution and use of medical marijuana. As of February 2, 2016, 339 physicians had registered for the New York State Medical Marijuana Program and 555 patients had been certified by their doctors. The registration fees for an accepted application to distribute medical marijuana is $210.000.

Vireo Health is open Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. They note, “Our dispensary in Queens is easily reachable by car, subway, and bus…We only accept cash.” The medical marijuana is available in capsules, tinctures, oils, or vapors.

The weed at Vireo Health must be good. Their dealers report to a Higher Authority.

Open by appointment Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Bring Cash. Photo: Tony Carnes/A Journey through NYC religions

Open by appointment Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Bring Cash. Photo: Tony Carnes/A Journey through NYC religions

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During the recent Blizzard of 2016, we still journeyed through Elmhurst religions. If you want to see our photos, click here!

 

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