Starting yesterday (June 8), over 25s in England were invited for their COVID vaccine. In true Glastonbury style, those vying for an appointment found themselves in a queue of tens of thousands of others also attempting to access the NHS website. Imagine the mayhem, then, if the government was offering free weed to anyone who got vaxxed.
Although this sounds like stoner folklore, it’s actually the reality in Washington State, where adults can claim a free pre-rolled joint when they get their coronavirus vaccine.
On Monday (June 7), the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board announced its ‘Joints for Jabs’ programme, which provides a temporary allowance for licensed cannabis retailers to provide one complimentary join to those who get their jab at an in-store vaccination clinic. Only those over the age of 21 are eligible, and the joint has to be collected during the same visit as receiving the vaccine.
Effective until July 12, the initiative is one of many employed by Washington State to encourage its residents to get the vaccine. Last week (June 3), the state announced that it would give away more than $2 million (£1.4m) in cash giveaways for those who are vaccinated – four lucky winners will get $250,000 (£176k) over four weeks, while a fifth and final winner will take home a cash prize of $1 million (£705k).
Other incentive packages include tuition money for students, tickets for flights or sports games, and a free cocktail, beer, or wine at participating bars and restaurants.
Here’s hoping the NHS will take note – maybe in five to ten years when weed is legalised and we’re inevitably enduring another pandemic. In the meantime, look back at Dazed’s feature about the UK law’s relationship with medical cannabis here.