Washington state is giving residents a new reason to get a COVID-19 shot: free marijuana.
The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board on Monday announced approval for the “Joints for Jabs” program, which gives a “temporary fee” to licensed weed stores to offer a single joint to people taking a COVID-19 vaccine get into a clinic in the store .
The fee is optional for retailers and will be in effect until July 12. It was met with mixed reactions on Twitter – some praising the creativity and others calling it “madness.”
The program marks the latest in a series of efforts by states across the country to increase vaccination rates, with incentives ranging from stickers to raffle prizes.
Washington has agreed to give free joints to people getting their coronavirus vaccine at a retail clinic in the coming month (Washington marijuana shop pictured)
The Liquor and Cannabis Board stated in their press release that they have received multiple requests for this type of promotion (Seattle cannabis store pictured)
The Liquor and Cannabis Board says in a press release that it has received several requests for this type of promotion.
“The cannabis industry had asked for the same thing and in our discussions we decided we could find a way to make that happen,” Brian Smith, director of communications for the Liquor and Cannabis Board, said. KGW8.
There are certain conditions attached to the compensation, including that a pre-rolled joint is the only thing that can be given away for free, so no edibles or bongs.
In addition, the joint must be given at the same visit as the vaccination and only people 21 and older are eligible.
For some retailers, installing a vaccination clinic in their store can be difficult.
“If we can find someone to do it, give the vaccinations, we can make room inside,” Uncle Ike’s owner, Ian Eisenberg, told KOMO News. “It won’t be a lot of space, but it’ll be good enough.”
Previously, the Liquor and Cannabis Board also approved a free beer, wine or cocktail for those getting vaccinated until June 30, although that promotion only requires proof of vaccination.
“This was a big step for us,” Smith said of the Joints for Jabs program. “To my knowledge we have never allowed the giving away of marijuana or cannabis to adult consumers, but this was a step that we thought we had some proper controls in.”
Monday’s announcement was quickly answered with an attack on jokes on Twitter.
“That’s just reefer madness,” Michael Cate tweeted.
Another user added: “Wax for Vax is a missed opportunity.”
“Expect vaccination level to hit new highs,” said another user, locked down and loaded with a pun.
Janet Webb tweeted: “Better than stupid guns in West Virginia,” referring to West Virginia’s plan to give away modified shotguns and shotguns as part of a raffle to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Washington is still in the throes of their battle with COVID-19, making any vaccination campaign important.
Man smokes a marijuana cigarette at a ‘Joints for Jabs’ event in New York City
This woman held up a sign in New York City in April that read ‘Pro-Vaxx, Pro-Weed’
This man showed his vaccination card when he smoked a joint in New York City in April
‘Joints for Jabs’ is one of many promotions being offered to encourage vaccinations in the US
As of Sunday, there were 440,889 cases of coronavirus in the state, with 5,856 deaths.
There were 645 new cases in the state on Saturday, the most recent day with publicly available data.
More than 7.2 million vaccinations have been given in Washington state so far.
The state’s Department of Health reports that 63.66 percent of the population aged 16 and older has started vaccinations, and 55.66 percent of that population has been fully vaccinated.
This is not the first promotion of marijuana in connection with the vaccination efforts.
In New York City, on April 20 in Union Square, some activists handed out joints to people with a vaccination certificate.
States across the country are jumping on the promotional bandwagon in an effort to boost the failed vaccination effort.
Colorado hosts a public health initiative called the Colorado Comeback Cash, which brought every resident vaccinated in late May into the first draw, the Associated Press reported.
New Mexico has the biggest prize on offer – with one lucky person who got their vaccine set up to win $5 million.
California Governor Gavin Newsom also announced the state lottery winners last week, taking on the vaccination lottery as a game show host.
Newsom drew California’s first 15 winners of $50,000 prizes for getting vaccinated against coronavirus from a lottery machine.
The drawing is the ffirst in a series that will culminate in 10 top prizes of $1.5 million each on June 15, the day the state expects to drop nearly all coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
Lotteries are funded by federal pandemic emergency funds, with state governors insisting they are good value for money
President Joe Biden launched the prospect of a trip to the White House on July 4, a date he has long maintained as a date when people can get together with families with less fear of the coronavirus.
He also praised an effort with Anheuser-Busch, though the White House said his role was merely coordinating with several pro-vaccine efforts.
Biden praised the efforts of NASCAR, the NBA, a Kroger supermarket lottery and free baseball tickets for people who get vaccinated.
“And to top it all off, Anheuser-Busch announced that there will be beer on the Fourth of July,” Biden said with a chuckle last week when he slightly exaggerated the offer. ‘That’s right – take a chance and have a beer. Free beer for anyone 21 or older to celebrate independence from the virus.’
So far, more than half of the population of the United States has received at least one vaccine dose
However, vaccination efforts have waned in recent weeks, leading to massive promos
Anheuser-Busch has announced it is partnering with the White House to offer its “biggest beer giveaway ever” if 70 percent of American adults have had at least one vaccine by July 4, but the offer has a snag : Only 200,000 people will reap the benefits of free booze.
More than 302 million vaccinations have been administered in the United States since Sunday.
More than half of the population – 51.6 percent – has received at least one dose, and 42.1 percent is fully vaccinated.
Of the population age 12 and older now eligible for a vaccine, 61.1 percent have started their vaccine series, of which 49.9 percent are fully vaccinated.