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Washington's 'Joints For Jabs' Vaccine Program Falling Flat

Washington is offering free, pre-rolled joints to adults who get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here, a person smokes a joint in The Netherlands.
Robin Van Lonkhuijsen
AFP via Getty Images
Washington is offering free, rolled joints to adults who get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here, a person smokes a joint in The Netherlands.

In Washington, adults can walk away from their vaccine appointment with a free joint, but some cannabis retailers and health providers are exactly all in.

Washington state’s new “joints for jabs” vaccination incentive program is off to a rough start.

Officials announced Monday the state’s nearly 500 licensed marijuana retailers could begin hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics and offering a single, free rolled marijuana cigarette to those who get a shot.

However, cannabis retailers say many don’t have the space to host a vaccine clinic. And some health care providers are queasy about setting up a clinic on the site of a marijuana business because they don’t want to jeopardize federal funding.

The program, launched by the state's Liquor and Cannabis Board, runs until July 12 and allows state-licensed dispensaries to give qualifying customers one rolled joint at an in-store vaccination clinic.

Eligible participants must be 21 or older and must have received their first or second dose during that visit.
Just a few weeks ago, the Liquor and Cannabis Board announced an incentive that allows breweries, wineries, and restaurants to offer free drinks to vaccinated adults.

However, cannabis retailers say it's unfair breweries and wineries can give away drinks to customers who merely showed proof of vaccination — no onsite clinic required.

These are only two of Washington's abundant vaccination incentives, which include free tickets to sports events and a lottery totaling up to $1 million.
Washington's promotions reflects a multitude of unique vaccination incentives being offered across the country, and the state isn't the first to offer weed.

In exchange for proof of vaccination, an Arizona dispensary's "Snax for Vaxx" campaign provides free joints and edibles. In Washington, D.C., cannabis advocacy group D.C. Marijuana Justice distributed joints at vaccination sites on April 20.

As of June 9, nearly 49% of Washington residents have been fully vaccinated.
NPR News Desk intern Josie Fischels contributed to this report.

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