When I stepped out of my car at Green Leaf Medical’s Frederick, Md., facility, the smell was unmistakable. It wasn’t the smell of smoke billowing into the sky from a factory or that strong smell of a workday at the former Baltimore Spice Company in Owings Mills. It was that of cannabis.
At this growing operation, unmarked and surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, brothers Philip and Kevin Goldberg, CEO and general counsel/chief compliance officer, respectively, gave me and photographer Kelsey Marden a thorough tour — the same one they gave reporter Connor Graham the previous day.
Why show us just about every room and every process? Philip said it’s all about transparency and demonstrating that this is a serious business that adheres to strict security and quality-control protocols. He’s given this same tour to law enforcement.
Green Leaf, one of many Jewish-owned medical cannabis companies, is the subject of this week’s cover story, which also wades into the murky waters of the possibility of kosher cannabis, something the Goldbergs and other Jewish growers in this burgeoning field hope they can produce with certification. But as you’ll read, Baltimore-based Star-K isn’t getting into the weed biz just yet, since cannabis, when used as a medicine, is kosher by virtue of being a medicine.
We also turn to last week’s tragic mass shooting at a Florida high school, where a number of Jewish students were killed. Andy Belt spoke to Rabbi Bradd Boxman, formerly of Har Sinai, now of Kol Tikvah in Parkland, Fla., whose synagogue became a command and grieving center after the shooting, as it held several special services. The story underscores the importance of connectivity in the Jewish community.
In another heartbreaking story on page 28, JTA reports on the Jewish victims of the shooting. They were athletes, students, faculty, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons and grandchildren. While the story is quite upsetting, it also serves to humanize the names in the headlines, reminding us that they were here and they mattered.
Elsewhere in the issue, we not only round up a variety of Purim events happening in the area, but we offer a special Purim section of satirical articles — our own brand of fake news. Andy, Connor, Susan C. Ingram and I tried our hands at comedy writing, and we hope you like the result. In the satire section, you can read about kosher crabs, Jews for Jesus coming out as Christians, Jewish texting abbreviations, the world’s first grogger band and more.