‘Joints for Jabs’: Washington state turns to marijuana giveaways to encourage residents to get vaccinated
“Joints for Jabs” is officially a thing in Washington state.
The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board said this week it will allow state-licensed cannabis retailers to “provide one joint to adult consumers who receive COVID-19 vaccination at an in-store vaccination clinic.”
The program is the latest incentive in the state’s push to get 70% of state adults at least partially vaccinated by month’s end. Gov. Jay Inslee has said reaching that mark would allow elimination of most remaining coronavirus-driven restrictions across the state.
The board said it received multiple requests from cannabis retail licensees to help promote the state vaccination efforts. The approval for what the board called “Joints for Jabs” is effective immediately and will expire July 12. Others are calling the plan “poke and toke.”
The fine print is sufficiently innocuous. Only one joint, no substituting other pot treats, only good for people 21 years of age and older. Advertising is allowed.
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The idea isn’t new. In Arizona, the Mint Cannabis Dispensary partnered with a medical group to offer free, onsite vaccinations at its three Phoenix-area locations. Those who were vaccinated at the clinics and 21 years of age or older received a free pre-rolled joint and an edible cannabis gummy, an initiative the dispensary called “Snax for Vaxx.”
The Washington state board noted that it has provided dozens of allowances for alcohol and cannabis licensees throughout the pandemic in an effort to support businesses during the restriction period and to support the vaccine effort. It has already approved free beer, wine or cocktails for those vaccinated by June 30.
Last week, Inslee unveiled the “Shot of a Lifetime” campaign aimed at promoting vaccination in the state, which early in the pandemic was the primary U.S. hot spot for COVID-19 deaths. The Washington State Lottery will conduct a weekly drawing for $250,000 for four consecutive weeks and then a final drawing for $1 million.
The campaign also includes $1 million in incentives for students in the form of free tuition and other scholarships. And the state Department of Health is distributing $500,000 in gift cards through its Care-A-Van mobile vaccination drive.
Last week, President Joe Biden launched a major push toward his own goal of having 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4. Biden announced a multipronged effort aimed at reaching that marker, including plans to recruit 1,000 Black-owned barbershops and salons to provide “Shots at the Shop” and promote vaccinations nationwide.
Other elements of the campaign include free childcare for parents who want to get vaccinated, keeping pharmacies open for 24 hours on Fridays and partnering with mayors to see which city can grow its vaccination rate the fastest. The NBA, NHL, MLB and NASCAR also plan to offer free vaccines at their competitions, while Anheuser-Busch announced free beer for vaccinated adults aged 21 years and older on July 4.
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