Washington has announced a “joints for jabs” campaign, hoping to ramp up vaccination efforts in the area. As a result, any adult over 21 is eligible to receive a free joint after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination shot. Others are calling it “pokes for tokes.”
Cannabis Marketing Tactic
Last week, Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board announced state-licensed cannabis retailers might “provide one joint to adult consumers who receive COVID-19 vaccination at an in-store vaccination clinic.” The marketing tactic became effective immediately and will expire on July 12. Unfortunately, the fine print is pretty strict and doesn’t allow any substitutions other than a joint.
“So many states declared cannabis retailers and employees as essential early on in the pandemic,” cannabis business consultant Ben Mervis told USA TODAY. “This is a poetic opportunity for them to not only give back but to incentivize efforts to create safer vaccinated communities.”
Washington state isn’t the first to think of this idea. Arizona first pitched the idea with a medical group at three Phoenix-area locations. That initiative, called “Snax for Vaxx,” allowed adults to receive a free pre-roll or edible with their vaccination. Additionally, other states, such as California, have begun a lottery incentive. Anyone who gets a vaccination is eligible for entry into the state’s $1 million jackpot and free event tickets.
Although this is a great way to motivate people to vaccination sites, the initiative is still somewhat problematic for the cannabis community. Washington legalized recreational cannabis back in 2012, while other states still haven’t had the opportunity. This creates an unfair environment within the United States.
It’s almost contradictory that the federal government is offering a controlled substance to motivate people. People are still getting arrested and put in jail for minor cannabis possession in other parts of the country. How is it fair that one part of the country is rewarding behavior with this drug while other members of society are behind bars because of it?
In the end, the initiative is a creative way of getting more people vaccinated. According to NPR, Washington has seen nearly half of its residents vaccinated, and this will definitely pump those numbers up even more. This is a great opportunity for the state of Washington. Hopefully, the rest of the country can begin to legalize and make cannabis available to the public. There will always be more opportunities for states to use cannabis as an incentive in the future.