On Monday, anyone 21 and older became eligible to claim their joint once they receive either shot one or two of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the new state-approved “Joint for Jab” policy, Business Insider reported. It will stay in effect until July 12.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 8, 2021
The free pre-rolled joint is being provided by the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board. Under their guidelines, those eligible must receive the vaccine at a state-licensed cannabis retailer clinic and the marijuana cigarette must be claimed on-site at the time of vaccination. Edibles, bongs and other common ways for smoking and inhaling marijuana, however, are not permitted.
Licensed retailers will now also be able to say they offer the complimentary joint through advertisement, according to Rassegna Stampa News.
Using marijuana as a new strategy comes at a time where states have seen a recent slump in vaccination urgency, US News reported. President Joe Biden recently set July 4 as the target date to get at least 70% of Americans fully vaccinated. To that end, states needed to come up with more ways to ramp up nationwide vaccinations successfully.
Washington isn’t the only state beginning to use the creative “joint for jab” approach to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. On April 20, a day celebrated by marijuana consumers, New York announced a similar program of their own.
Additionally, in Arizona, The Mint Cannabis Dispensary recently started giving away free edible cannabis gummies and joints to those getting vaccinated at one of their locations. Their initiative is called “Snax for Vaxx,” according to The Arizona Republic.
In non-cannabis-related efforts, however, Ohio is giving five fully vaccinated residents each $1 million through a lottery, and in West Virginia young people can get a savings bond worth $100.
Prior to the new policy in Washington, the board has also approved for bars to hand out free beer, wine and cocktails to adults who can show proof of vaccination. Free beer promotions have also started in New York, The New York Times reported.
Per the New York Times vaccine tracker, 49% of Washington state residents are fully vaccinated with 42% still without their first shot.