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"Joints for Jabs" and Similar Programs Roll Out Across the Country

Will free prerolls and edibles get more people vaccinated? Some states are betting on it.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Some states are giving away $1 million to anyone who gets their COVID-19 vaccination shot. Others are pulling out all the stops: free weed.

Washington state’s liquor and cannabis board this week announced a “Joints for Jabs” program, which allows participating cannabis retailers to provide prerolls to customers who get vaccinated on-site. It can be for the first or second shot for anyone 21 and over; edibles are excluded. The promotion runs through July 12.

“The LCB received multiple requests from cannabis retail licensees to engage in promotions to support state vaccination efforts,” according to the announcement

Related: Oregon’s Cannabis Market Has Become Stronger During The Pandemic

Cannabis for coronavirus shots

Opening a vaccination clinic at a weed shop feels very much like two birds, one stone; or stoners, as it were. And Washington isn’t alone in their cannabis-for-COVID shots initiative. 

In Arizona, at least three dispensaries in the Phoenix area hosted pop-up vaccination clinics for a “Snax for Vaxx” program. In return for getting the vaccine there, the shops provided free edibles and prerolls. In California, a Richmond-based medical cannabis company offered select products for one cent to those who received their first or second dose.

“We wanted to offer our platform to help the state achieve their goal of immunity against COVID-19,” 7 Stars executive director Zee Handoush said in a statement. “We saw other local businesses offering vaccine incentives and we wanted to add cannabis to that growing list. We hope other members of the cannabis community will do the same.”

Related: 4 Ways Cannabis Companies Can Leverage Good Press to Get New Business

Will it work?

According to the New York Times, the U.S. pace of vaccinations began to decline in mid-April, and the White House has encouraged states to get creative. Gov. Gavin Newsom pulled a numbered ball out of a gold-laméd lottery wheel on a livestream announcing the first million-dollar winners in California. There’s a shot-and-a-beer promotion in New Jersey. And full-ride scholarships for the under 18 set are being given out in New York, Ohio, and other states.

It’s too soon to tell if free cannabis promotions will make a bigger impact on vaccinated population totals than monetary prizes in any state. And many states, including Washington, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, have already reached President Biden's goal to have at least 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4. 

But with recreational and medicinal marijuana legal in 39 states and counting, there's a large swath of people still left to entice to get their shot with free cannabis products. And at least with a free preroll or edible, there’s something to relieve some of that pent-up pandemic anxiety.