Washington state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board is permitting legal marijuana retailers to dole out free joints to those who’ve taken at least one dose of the Covid vaccine, as states scramble for creative ways to promote the jab.
“In an effort to support Covid-19 vaccinations, the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) today announced that it would provide a temporary allowance to state licensed cannabis retailers to provide one joint to adult consumers who receive a vaccination at an in-store vaccination clinic,” the agency said in a Monday press release, dubbing the program “Joints for Jabs.”
The board said the move came after “multiple requests” from licensed cannabis stores, which first floated the idea to waive rules around trading the plant to incentivize immunizations. The waiver took effect immediately on Monday, but will be short-lived, set to expire on June 12.
The free spliffs will be limited to one per customer, and must be linked to an on-site vaccination program at cannabis dispensaries. No other pot products will be on offer for the initiative.
The temporary waiver follows similar efforts in other states, as well as vaccine-incentivizing offers from corporations like Anheuser-Busch. Last week the brewing giant announced that it would “buy America’s next round,” vowing to hand out free drinks to any adult who signs up if the country hits a 70% vaccination target set by the White House by July 4.
States like Ohio, New York, Maryland, Colorado and California have also embarked on vaccine lottery programs, offering various cash prizes and other freebies to anyone who takes the inoculation. West Virginia became the latest state to launch a lottery last week, setting its grand prize at just shy of $1.6 million while offering full scholarships to any higher education institution in the state, custom-outfitted trucks, lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, as well as hunting rifles and shotguns.
Washington, too, has its own $1 million lottery, with smaller prizes set at $250,000. The first winner will be announced on Wednesday, with any resident who received the vaccine automatically entered into the drawing.
To date, nearly 70% of Washington’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, though the state’s own metrics put it slightly lower, at just over 63%. Washington is set to reopen once it hits the 70% threshold, with its Department of Health stating on Sunday that it is “on the right track” to lift its pandemic restrictions.