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‘Joint for jab’: Washington state is using marijuana as bait to get more Americans vaccinated

US President Biden has set a target of 70% of Americans being vaccinated by 4 July. To that end, states have been encouraged to get creative to convince citizens to vaccinate.

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New Delhi: If ensuring some protection against Covid-19, and one’s life, isn’t a good enough incentive to get vaccinated, Washington state in the US is hoping this will change people’s mind — a free marijuana cigarette, more popularly called a ‘joint’.

The state’s liquor and cannabis board announced Monday that, effective immediately, anyone with a vaccination certificate (both first and second dose) could claim their free joint at any participating marijuana retailer. The only catch is one needs to be 21 years or older, the legal age limit.

The offer only applies to joints, though, and not edibles (foods made with marijuana), bongs, or any other creative ways of consuming it. The policy will be effective till 12 July.

Recreational use and sale of marijuana is legal in 17 US states, Washington DC and Guam.


Also read: High time India, the land of bhang, legalises marijuana


Similar baits

‘Joint for Jabs’ isn’t the first incentive Americans have come up with to boost vaccination numbers. A variety of incentives were introduced after President Joe Biden reportedly asked states to get creative about getting more people out to vaccine centres. The federal government even allowed states to use federal relief funds to pay for some programmes.

On 20 April, New York announced a ‘joint for jabs’ programme of their own. The announcement coincided with ‘4/20’, an annual day of celebration observed by marijuana consumers.

Earlier, Washington State allowed bars to give a free beer, wine and cocktails to customers who could prove they were vaccinated. Similarly, in New Jersey, everyone aged 21 and above could get a free mug of beer if they were vaccinated.

In Arizona, the Mint Cannabis Dispensary has been offering edible gummies or joints to vaccinated citizens above the legal age limit.

New York and Ohio started a raffle for vaccinated people to win college scholarships, while several other states announced lotteries of $1 million or more.

These incentives were introduced after the US’s vaccination drive witnessed a sharp decline in its pace around April. That month, the US was inoculating more than 3.4 million people, but is now averaging less than 1 million a day, according to The Washington Post.

At this pace, the country might not be able to achieve Biden’s target of vaccinating 70 per cent of the country’s population by 4 July, the US’s independence day.

Last week, Biden announced June as the ‘month of action’ to make vaccines more accessible as well as attractive for Americans. The incentives include an offer by Anheuser-Busch, an American brewing company who’ve said they will “buy Americans 21+ a round of beer” once the president’s 70 per cent goal is met.

(Edited by Manasa Mohan)


Also read: Rhea Chakraborty held in drugs case — here’s legal history of cannabis, weed, hash in India


 

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