Washington Cannabis Stores Offer “Joints for Jabs” to Encourage Vaccine Uptake
After receiving multiple requests from retailers wishing to help support state vaccination efforts, Washington State’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has this week announced that licensed cannabis retailers with on-site vaccination clinics will be permitted to offer a free cannabis joint to customers who receive a vaccination at that on-site clinic.
The “Joints for Jabs” program permits participating retail stores to give away one pre-rolled cannabis joint to customers over the age of 21 who are receiving a vaccination. The allowance from the LCB will last until July 12, 2021.
This is not the first-time cannabis has been offered to promote vaccinations. Earlier this month, the Mint Cannabis dispensary in Arizona partnered with the local Commerce Medical Group medical clinic to offer one free pre-rolled joint and cannabis edible to persons receiving a vaccine at three pop-up clinics in the state.
Under the allowance conditions released by the LCB, participating cannabis retailers will only be permitted to provide a single pre-rolled joint to eligible persons receiving their vaccine. No other form of cannabis or additional cannabis products may be included in the promotion.
The offer will be available to customers of legal age receiving either their first or second vaccination, but receipt of the complimentary joint must occur during the same visit as the vaccine was received.
Retailers are required to provide the complementary products themselves; they cannot be offered by a producer or processor. The retailer must purchase the complimentary products from a licensed producer or processor. However, as no retail sale occurs when the product is given away, the LCB has confirmed that these products will not be subject to sales and excise tax for the retailer. Retailers are still required to maintain records of all products provided as a part of the Joints for Jabs allowance.
The LCB also emphasizes that this temporary allowance does not supersede any other state or local health rules and regulations, and so licensees must continue to act in compliance with all local health jurisdiction rules associated with the operation of on-site vaccination clinics. The LCB has confirmed that the advertising of vaccine clinics in conjunction with the complimentary joint offer will be allowed up until July 12, so long as licensees remain compliant with all other advertising regulations.
Encouraging vaccine uptake in Washington
Beyond offering cannabis in pre roll tubes, there have been several other approaches in Washington to encourage vaccine uptake within the state.
The LCB has also given the green light to breweries, wineries, and restaurants to offer one free alcoholic beverage to patrons who can produce proof of vaccination – although this promotion was not contingent on the alcohol-serving establishment having an on-site vaccination clinic. This ordinance for licensed liquor businesses is effective until June 30.
The Washington Lottery has also launched its own campaign, the “Shot of a Lifetime,” which aims to encourage vaccinations by automatically enrolling all vaccinated adults in the Department of Health system into a cash prize lottery. Each week in June, the lottery will conduct a drawing for a $250,000 prize, followed by a final grand prize of $1,000,000 at the end of the month. For vaccinated young people aged 12-17 years, the Shot of a Lifetime campaign also includes a total of $1 million in incentives in the form of free tuition and other scholarships for students.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee intends to lift current Covid-related restrictions by the end of the month or when 70 percent of over-16s have received their first vaccine dose, whichever comes first. At the national level, President Joe Biden is targeting a goal of having 70 percent of all eligible adults in America at least partially vaccinated against Covid-19 by Independence Day, July 4.