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Washington state approves ‘Joints for Jabs’ allowing retailers to offer free joints for vaccines

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 allowance’ for licensed weed retailers to offer a single joint to people who receive a COVID-19 vaccine at an in-store clinic.

The allowance is optional for retailers and is set to be in effect until July 12. It was met with mixed reactions on Twitter – with some praising the creativity and others calling it ‘madness’. 

The program marks the latest in a series of efforts by states around the country to boost vaccination rates, with incentives ranging from stickers all the way to lottery prize money.  

Washington has approved of giving free joints to people who get their coronavirus vaccine at an in-store clinic over the next month (Washington marijuana store pictured)

The Liquor and Cannabis Board stated in their press release that they received multiple requests for this kind of promotion (Seattle cannabis store pictured)

The Liquor and Cannabis Board stated in their press release that they received multiple requests for this kind of promotion (Seattle cannabis store pictured)

The Liquor and Cannabis Board stated in a press release that they received multiple requests for this kind of promotion.

‘The cannabis industry had been asking to do the same and in our discussions we decided we could find a way to be able to make that happen,’ Brian Smith, director of communications for the Liquor and Cannabis Board, told KGW8

There are certain conditions that come with the allowance, including that a pre-rolled joint is the only thing that can be given away for free, meaning no edibles or bongs.

Additionally, the joint has to be given during the same visit as the vaccination and only people 21 years and older are eligible.

For some retailers, fitting a vaccination clinic inside their store could prove difficult.  

‘If we can find somebody to do it, give the vaccinations, we can carve out space inside,’ Uncle Ike’s owner Ian Eisenberg told KOMO News. ‘It’s not going to be a lot of room but it will be good enough.’ 

Previously, the Liquor and Cannabis Board also approved a free beer, wine or cocktail through June 30 for those who get vaccinated, though only proof of vaccination is needed for that promotion.

‘This was a big step for us,’ Smith said of the Joints for Jabs program. ‘To my knowledge we have never allowed the giveaway of any marijuana or cannabis to any adult consumers, but this was a step we thought we had some decent controls around.’ 

Monday’s announcement was quickly met with an onslaught on jokes on Twitter. 

‘That’s just reefer madness,’ Michael Cate tweeted.

Another user added, ”Wax for Vax’ is a missed opportunity.’  

‘Expect vaccinations level to reach a new high,’ said another user, locked and loaded with a pun.

Janet Webb tweeted: ‘Better than stupid guns in West Virginia,’ referencing West Virginia’s plan  to give away custom hunting rifles and shotguns as part of a lottery to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Washington is still in the throes of their battle with COVID-19, making every vaccination drive important.

Man smokes a marijuana cigarette during a 'Joints for Jabs' event in New York City

Man smokes a marijuana cigarette during a ‘Joints for Jabs’ event in New York City

This woman held up a sign saying 'Pro-Vaxx, Pro-Weed' in New York City in April

This woman held up a sign saying ‘Pro-Vaxx, Pro-Weed’ in New York City in April

This man showed his vaccination card as he smoked a joint in New York City in April

This man showed his vaccination card as he smoked a joint in New York City in April

'Joints for Jabs' is one of many promotions offered to encourage vaccinations in the US

‘Joints for Jabs’ is one of many promotions offered to encourage vaccinations in the US

As of Sunday, there have been 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. 

So far, over 7.2 million vaccination doses have been given in the state of Washington.

The state’s Department of Health reports that 63.66 percent of the population aged 16 and over have started their vaccination series, with 55.66 percent of that population fully vaccinated. 

This is not the first promoting involving marijuana linked to the vaccination effort.

In New York City, some activists gave out joints in Union Square on April 20 to people with proof of vaccination. 

States around the country have been jumping on the promotional bandwagon in an effort to boost the sagging vaccination effort. 

Colorado is hosting a public-health initiative called the Colorado Comeback Cash that entered every resident who was vaccinated by the end of May in the first drawing, the Associated Press reported. 

New Mexico has the biggest single prize on offer – with one lucky person who has had their vaccine set to win $5million.   

California Governor Gavin Newsom also announced state lottery winners last week taking a game show host approach to the vaccination lottery.

Newsom drew California’s first 15 winners of $50,000 prizes for getting vaccinated against the coronavirus from a lottery machine.

The drawing is the first in a series which will culminate in 10 grand prizes of $1.5million each on June 15, the day when the state expects to drop almost all coronavirus related restrictions on businesses and gatherings. 

Lotteries have been funded by emergency federal pandemic funds, with state governors insisting they represent good value for money 

President Joe Biden rolled out the prospect of a trip to the White House on July 4, a date he has long held out as one where people can gather with families with lower fears of the coronavirus.

He also touted an effort with Anheuser-Busch, although the White House said its role was merely coordinating with various pro-vaccine efforts. 

Biden touted efforts by NASCAR, the NBA, a Kroger grocery store lottery, and free baseball tickets to people who get vaccinated. 

‘And to top it off, Anheuser-Busch announced that beer is on them on July the Fourth,’ Biden said last week, chuckling as he somewhat overstated the offer. ‘That’s right – get a shot and have a beer. Free beer for everyone 21 years or older to celebrate independence from the virus.’

So far, over half of the United States population has received at least one vaccine dose

So far, over half of the United States population has received at least one vaccine dose

The vaccination effort has been waning in recent weeks, however, prompting mass promos

The vaccination effort has been waning in recent weeks, however, prompting mass promos

Anheuser-Busch announced that it is teaming up 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 catch: only 200,000 people will reap the benefits of free booze.

In the United States, over 302 million vaccination doses have been administered as of Sunday.

Over half the population – 51.6 percent – has received at least one dose, with 42.1 percent fully vaccinated.

In the population of people 12 and over who are now eligible for a vaccine, 61.1 percent have started their vaccine series, with 49.9 percent fully vaccinated. 


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