With the pace of COVID jabs slowing across the United States, Washington state has announced an incentive for the unvaccinated to get their shots: free cannabis.
The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) said on Monday they are temporarily allowing retailers to participate in a “Joints for Jabs” promotion, where adults who receive a shot at an in-store vaccination clinic can receive one complimentary joint.
The deal, which runs through July 12, only allows for prerolled joints to be given out, not other items such as edibles.
The LCB’s allowance follows a now-expired effort in which last month it permitted one complimentary alcoholic beverage following a jab.
Washington state’s creative efforts to boost vaccinations comes as the pace of vaccinations there and across the US has slowed, prompting a slew of interesting promotions.
Several states, including Washington, Maryland and Ohio, held lotteries to encourage their residents to get jabs. In fact, Washington will announce its first $250,000 lottery winner on Tuesday night.
Other promotions include giveaways of full-ride scholarships in New York state and Ohio.
Washington state’s cannabis giveaway is not the first in the US. A dispensary in Arizona set up a “Snax for Vaxx” promotion last month, handing out one prerolled joint and a gummy edible to those who received a free COVID shot.
Currently, 51.1 percent of Washington state residents have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That compares with 51.6 percent of the total US population that has received at least one dose, well short of President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70 percent with one jab by July 4.
The average number of vaccinations administered nationwide has dropped precipitously in recent weeks, according to the CDC, from an average of 3.3 million jabs in mid-April to an average of less than a million last week.
Biden last week encouraged Americans to get shots announcing new initiatives including extended hours at vaccination sites, offering parents drop-in childcare services, and free Uber and Lyft rides to and from appointments.
“It’s easier than ever to get vaccinated,” Biden said last week while also announcing a new government partnership with barbershops and hairdressers to reach mixed-race communities.
“Local barbers, stylists – they become key advocates for vaccinations in their communities, offering information to customers, booking appointments for them, even using their own businesses as vaccination sites,” Biden said.